New Delhi: Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said that “free and frank” exchange of political views is essential in order to take stock of the momentous changes in the Valley after the revocation of Article 370 on August 5, but acknowledged that such political discourse will only be possible after everybody is released from the detention. Also Read - Farooq Abdullah Released From Detention, Says 'Grateful to All Who Spoke For Our Freedom'

“This is especially so, considering the number of people detained in August last year who remain in jails outside J&K,” Abdullah said. Also Read - Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah To Be Released After 7 Months in Detention

Speaking on his release from the detention before the other eminent J&K politicians, Abdullah called himself “fortunate”. Also Read - Farooq Abdullah More Nationalist Than PM Modi, Yashwant Sinha Slams Centre For Detention Extension

“I’m acutely aware that compared to hundreds of Kashmiri families I’ve been far more fortunate. I was detained at home&my family had access to me. Yesterday when I went to meet my son Omar, I had to travel a kilometre from my home to be able to see him,” he said.

The NC leader then went on to appeal all political leaders to unite behind the call to the union government to bring back all detainees from J&K in prisons outside the Valley, pending their release.

“While we would like to see them all released as soon as possible, pending that they should be shifted to J&K. This is a humanitarian demand & I hope others will join me in placing this demand in front of the government of India,” he said.

Notably, Farooq Abdullah was on Friday finally released from detention, just hours after the Jammu and Kashmir administration issued orders to this effect. The former Chief Minister, who also heads the National Conference (NC), was under detention since August 5 last year, when the special status of the now-former state was revoked.

He was in detention under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), which was slapped against him last September.