Terming female foeticide as the "biggest sin against humanity", Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said his government has taken several measures but it alone cannot eradicate the menace.
"When I saw the alarming reports of female foeticide in Kashmir, I was highly surprised as I had never dreamt that such a sin will be performed in a society where protection, security and well being of girls and women is a cultural trait," Omar said at a function in Jammu.
Addressing a three-day workshop on 'Gender and Child Rights', organised by Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy in collaboration with the state government, Omar pinpointed the menace of female foeticide and said that he is deeply concerned about this "highest sin against humanity" which would ruin the future of the society.
"Government alone cannot eradicate it by enforcing laws. Public awareness and participation of civil society is imperative in this regard," the chief minister said.
"The civil society in close coordination with the government have to address this menace," he said and referred to the various steps taken by the state government for the growth and well being of women and children.
The chief minister also expressed concern over the deteriorating situation of children rights in the state due to violence, militancy and a host of other factors. In a state like Jammu and Kashmir, law and order and security situation coupled with incidents of violence badly tell upon the rights of children to enjoy active and joyous childhood, he said.
The chief minister said the security and rights of women and children have been underlined as priority areas in the state's development policy and planning.
"Under all circumstances, the security and rights of children and women should be protected," he said.
He expressed hope that the workshop would ponder upon these issues and come up with viable expert recommendations for the government for implementation. Omar also touched upon the important role played by the state government initiative 'UMEED' in women empowerment.
He said UMEED scheme implemented in some blocks in the state has yielded encouraging results and it is being extended to all blocks of the State.
"UMEED at one hand has given economic strength to the women and on the other strengthened their voices to highlight their rights," he said maintaining that women self help groups organised under this scheme could easily raise their voice at all forums particularly at the district and block levels to obtain their due share in
the development programmes.
He said UMEED has also generated remunerative economic activities for its members in the blocks where it is under implementation.