US welcomes release of former JK CMs Farooq, Omar

US has welcomed the release of former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and urged the Indian government to release all Kashmiri political leaders.

The statement on Wednesday of Acting Assistant US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells came a day after National Conference vice-president Omar was released after charges under the Public Safety Act (PSA), slapped on him in February, were revoked.

He was among the host of political leaders taken into detention on August 5, when the Centre announced the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and its bifurcation into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Omar spent 232 days in custody.

The US official also urged the Indian government to fully restore internet services in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We welcome the release of former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Dr Farooq Abdullah. We encourage the release of all Kashmiri political leaders and the full restoration of internet services as the coronavirus fight intensifies,” Wells said.

Omar’s father Farooq was also charged under the PSA and released on March 13 after 221 days in detention.

Abdullah senior, who is also the NC president, expressed happiness over the revocation of his son’s PSA detention, but said total redemption would not be possible until all political detainees were released. India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 was an internal matter. According to officials, internet is being restored in the Valley in a phased manner after reviewing the security situation.