Omar Abdullah Released From Detention After Nearly Eight Months
Former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah emerges from his house in Srinagar on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Photo: ANI)

Omar Abdullah Released From Detention After Nearly Eight Months


Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was on Tuesday freed after eight months in detention after the union territory’s administration revoked the Public Safety Act against him.

A swarm of media personnel and supporters, many of them in masks, waited for him outside his residence after he was released from house arrest.

The National Conference leader, who turned 50 on March 10, was under detention since August 5, when the Centre announced the revocation of Jammu & Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and its bifurcation into union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

The order revoking the PSA against him was issued by Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra. Abdullah was booked under the stringent act on Feb. 5, hours before his six-month custody under preventive detention was to end.

The government has revoked his detention with “immediate effect”, the order stated.

Abdullah's mother was the first to arrive at the makeshift detention centre after news came in that her son was about to be released. He was kept at the state guesthouse Hari Nivas, just a few hundred metres from his official residence.

His father, former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, was also charged under the PSA and released on March 13 after 221 days in detention. PDP leader and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti continues to be under detention.

On Feb. 5, Omar Abdullah, who was junior foreign minister and commerce minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Cabinet in 2000, was served with a three-page dossier that was challenged in the Supreme Court by his sister Sara Abdullah Pilot.

The Supreme Court last week asked the central government and J&K administration to inform by this week if it was releasing him. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah told the counsel appearing for the Centre that Abdullah's sister's plea against his detention would be heard on merit if he was not released soon.

The petition, which may now become infructuous, could have come up for hearing on Wednesday or later this week.

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