Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, freed after nearly eight months in arrest, on Tuesday returned to Twitter with his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style. The National Conference leader, who was released amid an unprecedented nationwide shutdown to stall the spread of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, offered “tips on surviving quarantine or a lock down” because of his “months of experience”. The tweet was an instant hit on the social media platform, collecting 5,000 likes and over 1,000 retweets in the first 15 minutes.
On a lighter note if anyone wants tips on surviving quarantine or a lock down I have months of experience at my disposal, perhaps a blog is in order.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 24, 2020
Jammu and Kashmir along with rest of India was placed under a strict lockdown this week amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has affected nearly 500 people and killed nine across India. Experts have warned of devastating consequences if Indians do no immediately exercise social distancing protocols.
Mr Abdullah, released on Tuesday after 242 days in detention, posted in his first tweet that it was “a very different world today” to the one that existed on August 5, when he was placed in detention. The former Chief Minister was detained along with hundreds of politicians in August, when the centre decided to end special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two union territories.
“232 days after my detention today I finally left Hari Niwas. It’s a very different world today to the one that existed on 5th August 2019,” tweeted Omar Abdullah, who turned 50 on March 10. He was seen emerging from the Hari Niwas guest house near his official home in Srinagar, sporting a white beard and surrounded by people in masks on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Abdullah had resolved not to shave until he was released as a mark of protest.
One of his first comments to the media was on coronavirus, which has infected close to 500 in India. He also appealed for the release of his political rival Mehbooba Mufti, another former Chief Minister, and other leaders detained on the same day.
“Today, I realise that we are fighting a war of life and death. All our people who have been detained should be released at this time. We must follow government orders to fight coronavirus,” the National Conference leader told reporters.