No reports of custodial death this year: Ghulam Nabi Azad

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Srinagar, Oct 17 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today claimed that custodial death has come to a nought in the state during the past ten months because of the stringent measures taken by the authorities against human rights violation.

Inaugurating All India Editors Conference on Social Sector here, the Chief Minister said no case of custodial death was reported this year so far, as the government has made it clear to the security forces that human rights violation will not be tolerated at any cost.

The Conference was attended by over 40 senior media personalities of English, Hindi, Urdu and other language papers, besides local media.

Rural development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Minister of State for Human resource Development Mohd. Ashraf Ali Fatmi and Minister of State for Railways R Velu also interacted with the editors on various issues.

While listing steps taken by the government on human rights violation, Mr Azad said one senior police official and 12 policemen were arrested for killing innocent people last years.

He said the state government has decided to construct houses and flats for the Kashmiri migrants. Two hundred flats are already ready and four thousand more are under construction in Jammu.

Referring to corruption in the state, he said his government is committed to eradicate it. The state legislature has enacted a law to severely punish corrupt officials and contractors. Properties of many senior officials and engineers have been confiscated by the vigilance department in the past one year. Two Chief Engineers have been sent to jail for amassing wealth disproportirate to their known sources of income.

He stated that over 2.5 million kanals of agricultural land has been distributed to farmers free of cost. This would help increase the production of foodgrains.

He regretted that media was higlighting only negative aspects of governance and failed to project developmental actvities and other important achivements of the government. ''Impression one gets is that everything is abnormal.... The media should maintain balance while reporting,'' he said.

On resettlement of earthquake victims in the border areas of the state, Mr Azad said reconstruction and rehabilitation work has been completed in the affected areas. However, on the other side of the border, most of the people are still without shelter.

Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said economic growth is in the range of nine per cent and has possiblity of touching double digits in the near future, but now attention needs to paid to inclusiveness. ''We need to address the problems of rural areas.'' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has provided adequate funds for tackling the problem of unemployment and poverty in the rural areas.

The Minister disclosed that the government has decided to increase old age pension from Rs 200 to 400. The state governments have also been asked to share the burden of the scheme, he added.

UNI

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