After about a year-long detention, People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone was released on Friday afternoon.
Sajad himself broke the news of his release. “Finally [five] days short of a year I have been officially informed that I am a free man,” Sajad wrote on his twitter handle on Friday afternoon.
“….so much has changed. So have I. Jail was not a new experience. Earlier ones were harsh with usual doses of physical torture. But this was psychologically draining. Much to share hopefully soon.”
Lone was part of the PDP-BJP alliance government and served as a cabinet minister. He was also part of the Gupkar Declaration that was “passed” by political parties in Kashmir ahead of scrapping of Article 370 by the government of India last year.
Lone was arrested on 5 August last year and lodged at MLA Hostel for six months before he was shifted to Chruch Lane, where he was put under strict house detention.
The Parliament of India last year in August abrogated Article 370 which gave special constitutional status to J&K; and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories viz. Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who spent more than 230 days in detention and was booked under the Public Safety Act, was among the first politicians to congratulate Lone on his release.
“Good to hear that Sajad Lone has been released from illegal house arrest. I hope others under similar illegal detention will also be released without delay,” Omar wrote.
Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhter also congratulated Sajad for his release. “Mubarak! This was a jail term in which the trial begins only after release. Great pleasure to have remained together for a long time, enough to know each other better and appreciate that no two Kashmiris have now any reason to fight each other. For there are no prizes to win,” he wrote on his Twitter.