Omar Abdullah released after nearly eight months in detention in Kashmir. The former Chief Minister was detained along with hundreds of politicians in August, when the centre decided to end special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two union territories.
Mehbooba Mufti, another former Chief Minister detained on the same day, August 5, tweeted: “Glad he has been be released. For all their talk of nari Shakti & women emancipation, seems like this regime fears women the most.”
The Supreme Court had last week, on Omar Abdullah’s sister’s petition for his immediate release, asked the centre to respond by this week whether it planned to free him.
“If you are releasing him, then release him soon or we will hear the matter on merits,” the Supreme Court told the government.
“Now that things are settled in Kashmir, what are your instructions for his (Omar Abdullah’s) release,” the judges asked.
On March 13, Omar Abdullah’s father Farooq Abdullah, also a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was freed.
Omar Abdullah was detained without charges but later, the government charged him the Public Safety Act (PSA). The charges listed out in a dossier against the 49-year-old National Conference leader included his “ability to garner votes even during peak militancy and poll boycotts”. It said Mr Abdullah, a former Union Minister, could influence people for any cause and specifically cited his ability to bring voters out in the wake of boycott calls by separatists.
Mr Abdullah’s sister Sara Abdullah Pilot, in her petition to the Supreme Court, said her brother had been detained on the basis of social media posts “that are non-existent have been wrongly, maliciously attributed to (Omar Abdullah)”.
Mr Abdullah has been seen during his detention with a beard. He had resolved not to shave until he was released as a mark of protest.