Twenty panches and sarpanches of Baramulla district resigned from their posts on Sunday citing “threats to their lives” in the wake of fresh militant attacks on panchayat members in Jammu and Kashmir.

Announcing the decision in the presence of the media here, Manzoor Ahmad Rather, a sarpanch from Hardshiva Sopore said: “We fear for our lives... and are therefore resigning.”

As concern mounted, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah reviewed the security situation in the Valley against the backdrop of attacks on panchayat members.

The meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, discussed the area domination and sanitisation exercise carried out by security forces in vulnerable areas of the Valley, official sources said.

Speed up probe: Omar

The Chief Minister directed the police to carry out speedy investigations into the attacks so that the assailants could be brought to book.

Suspected militants on Friday shot dead sarpanch Habibullah Mir at Goripora village in Sopore town, 52 km from here, while a woman panchayat member, Zoonaa Begum, was shot and injured inside her house at Hardshiva Sopore on Saturday night.

Panchayat members in Kashmir have been demanding security from the State government since last year after similar incidents.