Uncertainty looms large over the much-awaited panchayat elections in the state after the spate of civilian killings and resurgence of violence in the Kashmir valley.Mehbooba Mufti government had announced that the panchayat polls will be held from February 15 in the restive state. With only 15 days remaining for the deadline, the government is yet to issue any notification for the polls.Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman told the Legislative Council that it has been decided in the cabinet that before making the final announcement regarding the conduct of panchayat elections, minister for rural development and panchayati raj will call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue threadbare with the leaders of all the political parties.On Tuesday, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Abdul Haq Khan told the Council that government would hold the local elections soon, but did not announce the dates.”The Election Authority has announced the revision of panchayat electoral rolls for which the process is going on. An all-party meeting has been called to discuss the issues related to the panchayat elections,” he said.Tension gripped the valley after the resurgence of the violence and fresh spate of killings. Political parties fear that it may cast shadows on the polls as people may prefer to stay away from the democratic exercise, given the vitiating atmosphere and militant threats.Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists have called upon the people to stay away from the democratic process saying, “India is using the election to negate Kashmiris’ demand for “self-determination and freedom”.Dreaded Hizbul Mujhadeen has also issued orders to its cadres to gouge the eyes of the panchayat candidates using acid to sabotage the democratic exercise.Panchayat polls are being held in Jammu and Kashmir after a two-year delay. Elections were scheduled to be held in 2016 but due to the unrest post Burhan Wani killing, the grassroots-level democratic exercise was delayed indefinitely.Seen as one of the biggest achievement of the Omar Abdullah government, the panchayat elections were last held in 2011 after 33 years hiatus in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 80 per cent people had defied terrorists’ threat and cast their votes in the panchayat elections in 2011. More than 33,000 panchayat representatives were elected in the polls across the state in 2011.POLL TIMEPanchayat polls are being held in Jammu and Kashmir after a two-year delay. Elections were scheduled to be held in 2016 but due to the unrest post Burhan Wani killing, the grassroots-level democratic exercise was delayed indefinitely. It is seen as one of the the biggest achievements of the Omar government.

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Uncertainty over panchayat polls in J&K