On June 8, 2020, militants shot dead Ajay Pandita, a Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch, in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Three days later, the Jammu and Kashmir government announced a compensation of Rs 20 lakh for Pandita’s family, comprising his parents, wife and two daughters.

Eventually, his elder daughter was also given a lower-level Class IV government job. Pandita was affiliated with the Congress party.

On June 2, 2021, a Bharatiya Janata Party councilor Rakesh Pandita was shot dead by militants in south Kashmir’s volatile area of Tral. While Pandita had been assigned guards for his security, he had not taken them along on the day of the attack.

Ten days after Pandita’s killing, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha visited the family. He paid his condolences and announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 40 lakh to the family members of the victim.

Ajay and Rakesh were not the only elected grassroots leaders to have been gunned down by the militants over the years.

In Kashmir, local elected panchayat representatives have for long been soft targets of militants, who view them as part of New Delhi’s design to tighten its control in the region…

This story was originally published in  Read the full story here