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Post-release, Omar Abdullah calls for freeing all detained, restoration of high-speed internet

Omar said that people faced many hardships after the August 5, 2019 decisions of the Centre, but the time was not ripe to talk about them as the people were fighting the war of life and death.

Published: 24th March 2020 03:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2020 04:22 PM   |  A+A-

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah speaks to media after he was freed from detention. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

SRINAGAR: Soon after his release from nearly eight months of detention, National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday called for the release of all detained people within and outside Jammu and Kashmir and appealed for the restoration of high-speed mobile internet services.

"The politics and situation of this state, what happened on August 5 (last year), I will talk about it in detail, but first, let us get rid of coronavirus, save ourselves and our families and friends. And then all those detained, be it within the state or outside it, I want the Centre to have mercy on them, bring them home and release them," Omar told reporters outside his residence.

He said all the detained leaders, including PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, should be released in view of the situation arising out of the coronavirus scare. "Be it Mehbooba Mufti or my NC colleagues, or leaders from PDP or from any other party. Some do not belong to any party, but are in detention since August (last year). In these difficult times, they should be brought back to their families," he said.

Omar said that people faced many hardships after the August 5, 2019 decisions of the Centre, but the time was not ripe to talk about them as the people were fighting the war of life and death.

"The hardships that the people faced. Our children couldn't go to schools for many months, shopkeepers didn't have an earning for months. People associated with hotels, taxis, houseboat, shikara and factories had to face difficulties," he said.

"I was detained at one place, but the difficulties the people here faced, they were kept at their homes, I had thought that I will talk a lot about it, but today I realise that we are fighting a huge war - the war of life and death," he added.

"Unfortunately, we have gathered here against the government's directions. We were told that social distancing should be followed, that we should take precautions to contain the spread of this disease. However, what lesson will we give to the people when we ourselves are not ready to follow it," he said.

He said that people must follow the government orders of social distancing and precautions to fight coronavirus. "Be it Article 370 or 35A or UT or bifurcation of the state, I will talk to you in detail once the current situation passes," he added.

However, Omar appealed to the Centre to lift restrictions on the high-speed mobile internet in the Union Territory. "I humbly appeal the Centre to lift the restrictions on the communication. If nothing, at least 3G/4G be restored. We are told to take lessons on awareness about coronavirus from the internet, but what to do when nothing opens (because of low speed)," he said.

Omar took to Twitter and posted a picture of himself sporting long pepper beard. "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," he wrote.

"Had lunch with my mum and 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 and don't remember what I ate, " he wrote in another tweet.

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