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Sonia sets the agenda for Azad

By Onkar Singh in Srinagar
November 02, 2005 22:50 IST
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Jammu and Kashmir's new Chief Minister Gulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday said his government will not tolerate custodial deaths.

The warning came hours after a suicide car bomb blast killed six people and left over twenty people injured in Nawgan, barely few kilometres away from the route that Azad was to take.

Addressing his first press conference at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre, Azad said that the relief and rehabilitation work for the quake-hit will be his top priority.

"Let me make it clear that custodial deaths will not be tolerated, but terrorists who kill innocent people will also not have a free run. My government's top priority will be to provide relief to the victims of the earthquake. I am holding a meeting Thursday afternoon to review the situation," he said.

Talking about the law and order situation in the state, Azad said he will also be holding a meeting of the joint command on Thursday morning to take stock of the situation.

He said, like his predecessor, that he would not tolerate corruption.

"Let bygones by bygones, but those who think of making money through corrupt means should not even think about it for next three years because I am not going to tolerate corruption and I am committed to providing a transparent government," he said.

On why Congress chief Sonia Gandhi did not attend the ceremony, Azad said, "She felt that in view of the earthquake and the bomb blasts in Delhi, Congressmen would not celebrate the Diwali festival. The swearing in was a sort of celebration and hence she stayed away from it," he said.

Sonia, in her letter to Azad, virtually set the agenda for his government.

"Ultimately, you will be judged by your government's commitment to economic development, creating employment and other opportunities, especially for the youth of the state.

"People of all parts of the state must feel they have a government that is devoted to their interests, and works with integrity and purposefulness," she said in her letter distributed to the media.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in his letter said: "There is a tinge of sadness on your departure from the Union cabinet but there is also a sense of joy that you are taking on a challenging assignment."

Also read:
Mufti gave peace a chance
Car bomb kills six in Srinagar
Complete coverage of the October 8 quake

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Onkar Singh in Srinagar