Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah walked out of his Gupkar residence on Friday, seven months after he was put under detention following the abrogation of Article 370 by the central government. “I am free, I am free,” he said while addressing the media persons gathered outside his home.
Abdullah was detained in August last year after the Centre stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.
“I am grateful to the people of the state and country who spoke for my freedom. I would like to thank everyone and every individual who prayed for my freedom,” said 82-year-old Abdullah.
“This freedom will be complete only when all the other detained leaders – including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah – in various buildings are released,” he added. “I hope the Government of India will take action soon to release everyone.”
Abdullah also said that he will not make any political statement till the time all the leaders are released.
The NC chief was released after the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday revoked the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against him with immediate effect.
Abdullah was under preventive detention since August 5 last year, the day the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. He was the first chief minister against whom the PSA was invoked. The stringent Act was slapped against him on September 15, hours before the Supreme Court was to hear a petition by MDMK leader Vaiko who claimed that Abdullah had been illegally detained.
The decision to release the National Conference patron came hours ahead of the ending of the three-month period on Friday midnight.
Immediately after his release, the National Conference issued a statement welcoming the decision and also urged the Union Territory administration to release other political leaders including party vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.