Omar Move Out of Jail Finally, Seeks Release of Detainees, 4G

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SRINAGAR: At the peak of a lock-down enforced to ensure the break the Coronavirus infection chain, the Government of India finally set Omar Abdullah free. He moved out of the Palace jail shortly after 1:30 pm and the Special Security Group of the Police had a tough time in ensuring the “social distance” at the main gate of the sub jail.

NC leader and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah outside the gate of the Hari Niwas Palace after being set free after eight months.

“I had thought a lot over what I will be telling you once I am free but we have already landed in a situation in which we are actually violating what we are supposed to do,” Omar Abdullah told reporters at the gate of the Palace. “Right now our priority is to fight the deadly virus, ensure that we, our families, friends and neighbours survive the onslaught of the virus and then we will talk about things.”

Omar said he wanted to talk about what happened on August 5, but the situation is changed. “We will pick these issues once we defeat the virus first,” he said.

Omar Abdullah outside his house after being released from detention. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Omar Abdullah, who turned 50 in the jail, was arrested on August 4, 2019, a day ahead of the unilateral decision-making by the Government of India on special status and the state of Jammu ad Kashmir. After he completed six months under an order that restricts his movement, the government finally involved the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act to keep him under lock and key. Finally his sister, Sarah Pilot went to the court. His release came day ahead of the Supreme Court gearing his case.

Coronavirus apart, Omar raised two demands in his brief interaction with the media. He said all the people who were arrested after the August 5, should be immediately set free, regardless soft eh fact whether they are detained within or outside Jammu and Kashmir.

After being released after eight months, Omar Abdullah with his parents in Srinagar on March 24, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

“We are being told that the battle against this virus will be slightly easier if we have better communications,” Omar said. “But the crisis is that we do not have 3G and 4G so I request the Government of India that please permit us to use this.”

At the palace gate, almost everybody was wearing a mask but Omar, who moved in T-shirt and black trousers, was not carrying a mask. He lay bare his flowing salt and pepper bear that indicates his incarceration of eight months.

A Jinxed Palace?

Omar later moved to see his father who was also released last week after being restrained for 122 days. Dr Farooq has been visiting his son for all these days. At Dr Farooq’s residence, the SSG was making efforts to prevent the party workers from getting in.

Soon after his reunion with his parents, Omar was back on twitter. He made a series of tweets. “232 days after my detention today I finally left Hari Niwas. It’s a very different world today to the one that existed on 5th August 2019,” one tweet said.

“Had lunch with my mum & dad for the first time in almost 8 months. I can’t remember a better meal even though I’ve been in a bit of a daze & don’t remember what I ate Smiling face.”

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