BBC News – Omar Abdullah: Kashmir leader released from months-long detention

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 24 March 2020. Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, has been released after nearly eight months in detention.

The decision was taken amid concern for his health because of Covid-19, a police official told BBC Urdu.

He added that Mr Abdullah would be home “anytime today”.

He was among thousands of local leaders put under house arrest a day before the disputed region was stripped of its semi-autonomous status on 5 August.

His house arrest was further extended in February under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows detention without charge for up to two years.

But last week India’s top court asked the federal government for an update on his release, in response to a petition by Mr Abdullah’s sister.

Another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, whose house arrest was also extended under the PSA, is still in detention. It’s also unclear how many Kashmiris continue to be held. Some estimates put the number in the thousands.

The Kashmir region has been tense since August. The government deployed tens of thousands of troops to quell unrest and enforced a crackdown on communications after it decided to strip the region of its special status and split it into two federally-administered territories.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party defended the decision, saying it was necessary to uphold law and order.

Although phone connections and internet services have been restored, access remains poor and speeds are below what is common in the rest of India.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52015776