Omar demands release of all prisoners, 4G services

Omar Abdullah with his father, Farooq Abdullah
Omar Abdullah with his father, Farooq Abdullah

SRINAGAR — Former Chief Minister and top National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah on Tuesday walked into the footsteps of his father Dr Farooq Abdullah, stating that Government of India must release all prisoners detained on August 5 last year irrespective of their party affiliations and that 4G Internet services should be restored so that people learn how to fight the deadly COVID-19.

Talking to reporters at his Gupkar residence, soon after he was released from almost eight-month-long detention by the J&K government, Omar said that as far as Article 370 and 35-A, he will speak on the issues openly in detail later.

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“At present, I will speak about how we can get rid of COVID-19. We are fighting a big fight against Coronavirus. Today, when we were asked to maintain social distancing, here we are together violating the very orders,” he said.

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Omar, who has grown a long beard over the past eight months, preferred to his father’s way by not speaking about revocation of Article 370 and instead demanded release of all political leaders including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.

“All those arrested or detained prior to August 5 last year should be released. Those who don’t even belong to any party should also be released. The Government at the Centre must also restore 4G services forthwith so that people access the sites and learn how to fight the COVID-19,” he said.

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He said that J&K as a state was broken up into two UTs. “During these months, students were left without schools. Our business, shopkeepers, hotels and all other establishments bore the brunt,” he said.

“I was locked at only one place but the problems faced by the people of J&K during that period can’t be compensated,” Omar said.

In his first tweet since August 5 last year, Omar wrote: “232 days after my detention today, I finally left Hari Niwas. It’s a very different world today to the one that existed on August 5, 2019.”

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