Omar Abdullah

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Omar Abdullah
Omar Abdullah (portrait).jpg
8th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
5 January 2009 – 8 January 2015
GovernorNarinder Nath Vohra
Preceded byPresident's rule
Succeeded byGovernor's rule
Member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly
In office
Preceded byQazi Mohammad Afzal
Succeeded byIshfaq Ahmad Sheikh
Minister of State for External Affairs
In office
23 July 2001 – 23 December 2002
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded byKrishnam Raju
Succeeded byDigvijay Singh
Leader of the Opposition in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly
In office
January 15, 2015 – June 19 , 2019
Succeeded byVacant
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
10 March 1998 – 18 May 2009
Preceded byGhulam Mohammad Mir Magami
Succeeded byFarooq Abdullah
Personal details
Born (1970-03-10) 10 March 1970 (age 52)
Rochford, Essex, England
Political partyJammu and Kashmir National Conference
Payal Nath
(m. 1994; separated 2011)
Parent(s)Farooq Abdullah (father)
Mollie Abdullah (mother)
RelativesSachin Pilot (brother-in-law)
Residence(s)40, Gupkar Road, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
EducationBachelor of Commerce (
Alma materBurn Hall School, Sydenham College, University of Mumbai University of Strathclyde

Omar Abdullah (pronunciation ; born 10 March 1970) is an Indian politician and former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He became the 11th and the youngest Chief Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, after forming a government in coalition with the Congress party, on 5 January 2009.[4][5]

He was the last Leader of opposition in the erstwhile state Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly (Member of the Legislative Assembly from Beerwah constituency of Budgam district)[6] before the assembly was dissolved in 2018 and the state of Jammu & Kashmir ceased to exist as on 6 August 2019. On 6 February 2020 the Government of India booked him under the Public Safety Act (PSA) which was revoked on 24 March 2020.

He was a member of 14th Lok Sabha, representing Srinagar constituency of Jammu and Kashmir, India. He was the Union Minister of State for External affairs in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government, from 23 July 2001 to 23 December 2002. He resigned from NDA government in October 2002 to concentrate on party work.[7]

Omar Abdullah welcomes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his arrival at Jammu airport in 2011.

Omar joined politics in 1998, as a Lok Sabha member, a feat he repeated in subsequent three elections and also remained the Union minister; he took on the mantle of National Conference from his father in 2002, though lost his own seat of Ganderbal during the 2002 state assembly elections, and so did his party, the political mandate; four years later, he contested once again from the same seat and won in the 2008 Kashmir State Elections.[8]

Omar Abdullah drives Vice President of India Ansari in golf cart at Srinagar, Kashmir in 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Omar Abdullah was born on 10 March 1970 in Rochford, Essex, United Kingdom. He is a grandson of Sheikh Abdullah, and the only son of Farooq Abdullah, a physician. All three men have held the position of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.[9] His mother, Mollie, an Englishwoman and a nurse by profession, has said that she was not in favor of him joining politics.[10] He studied at the Burn Hall School located at Sonwar Bagh, Srinagar and then at Lawrence School, Sanawar.[11] He is a B.Com. graduate of Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics.[12] He was employed with ITC Limited and The Oberoi Group till the age of 29 before entering politics.[13][14] He did commence an MBA with the University of Strathclyde, however due his election to the Lok Sabha, he dropped out from the course.[15]

He married Payal Nath from Delhi.[16][17][18] She is the daughter of a retired army officer, Ram Nath.[19] In September 2011, Omar confirmed that he and his wife have separated.[1][2][3] His younger sister, Sara Pilot, is married to Sachin Pilot, son of Rajesh Pilot.

He had a role in director Apoorva Lakhia’s film, Mission Istanbul (2008) playing himself.[20][21]

Political career[edit]

In 1998, at the age of 28, Omar Abdullah was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha, becoming the youngest member. In 1998–99, he was a member of both the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism's Consultative Committee. In 1999, he was elected to 13th Lok Sabha (2nd term as a Member of Parliament).[citation needed] On 13 October 1999, he took oath as Union Minister of State, Commerce and Industry. On 22 July 2001, he became the youngest Union Minister, when he was made Union Minister of State for External Affairs. He resigned from the post on 23 December 2002, to concentrate on party work.[7]

On 23 June 2002, he became the President of the National Conference party, replacing his father, Farooq Abdullah.[22] He lost his Ganderbal seat in the Kashmir assembly elections held in September–October 2002.[23] Abdullah was re-elected as the National Conference party's president in 2006.

Omar Abdullah with the President of India Pratibha Patil, Governor of J&K N.N. Vohra and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Deepak Kapoor at the LOC near Rajouri, J&K on October 09, 2009.

In March 2006, much to the disapproval of the centre[24] Omar Abdullah had a one-on-one meeting with Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, in Islamabad. This was the first meeting of its kind between a mainstream politician from Jammu & Kashmir and the Pakistani government, thereby re-enforcing Omar's growing commitment to the solution of the Jammu & Kashmir cause.

On 22 July 2008, Omar gave a speech during the 2008 Lok Sabha vote of confidence,[25] which was praised and won him fans on the internet.[26][27]

After the 2008 Kashmir Elections, the National Conference won the maximum number of seats, and formed a coalition government with the Congress party, and Omar was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 January 2009 at the General Zoravar Singh Auditorium in the University of Jammu, Jammu, raising hope amongst the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had been reeling under insurgency and violence caused by cross border terrorism since 1989.[28]

In 2009, Omar Abdullah was accused of covering up the rape and murder of two young women in Shopian, which was allegedly perpetrated by Indian Paramilitary Forces.[29] Many regarded this as Abdullah's first failure, as even moderates felt Abdullah had bowed to pressure from New Delhi.[30]


On the intervening night of 4 and 5 August 2019, Omar Abdullah was placed under preventive detention by the Indian Government under Section 107 of the CRPC. This came as a backdrop to the government's decision of scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which gave the state of Jammu & Kashmir semi-autonomous powers.[31]

After the expiry of the six-month detention without any charges, Abdullah has been freshly charged and detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) which has been revoked on 24 March 2020.[32]

"The capacity of the subject to influence people for any cause can be gauged from the fact that he was able to convince his electorate to come out and vote in huge numbers even during peak of militancy and poll boycotts," the government dossier continues.[33][34][35][36]

Abdullah's sister, Sara Abdullah Pilot has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging Abdullah's detention calling it "wholly antithetical to a democratic polity and undermines the Indian Constitution" and asking that the SC secure Abdullah's release.[37]

The petition also includes a habeas corpus for Abdullah to be produced before the Supreme Court.[38]

On 10 February 2020 Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for petitioner Sara Abdullah Pilot, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana.[39][40]

On 14 February 2020 the Supreme Court issued notice to the Jammu & Kashmir administration and set the next date of hearing as 2 March 2020.[41][42]

On 24 March 2020 Omar Abdullah was released from detention.[43] Following his release, he demanded other people held under detention be released as well.[43]


  1. ^ a b Nairita (15 September 2011). "JK CM Omar Abdullah confirms Divorce but not Marriage". News Oneindia. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Omar Abdullah divorcing wife after 17 years". The Times of India. 15 September 2011. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Omar Abdullah divorcing wife after 17 years". Indian Express. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  4. ^ Omar Abdullah takes oath as youngest J&K chief minister Archived 30 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine NDTV, Monday, 5 January 2009 2:01 PM.
  5. ^ Omar Abdullah to be sworn in as J&K CM today Times of India, 5 January 2009.
  6. ^ "MLA Beerwah, Omar Abdullah during his visit to Beerwah on Wednesday". Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Omar Abdullah resigns from Union Cabinet". 14 October 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  8. ^ Omar Abdullah not just another political scion CNN-IBN, 5 Jan 2009.
  9. ^ Omar Abdullah, November, 2001
  10. ^ NEWSMAKER: Omar Abdullah Business Standard, New Delhi, 2 January 2009.
  11. ^ "CEC, Omar Abdullah attend Sanawar school celebrations". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 5 October 2009. Archived from the original on 11 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Members : Lok Sabha". Archived from the original on 12 May 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  13. ^ Nelson, Dean (26 October 2013). "The only way is Kashmir for Essex boy ruling world's most volatile state". The Telegraph. Srinagar.
  14. ^ Bhandare, Namita (9 January 2009). "Omar Abdullah: a new son over the valley". Live Mint.
  15. ^ "Living on his own terms". Hindustan Times. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  16. ^ "After 17 years, Omar Abdullah, wife part for good". DNA India. 15 February 2011.
  17. ^ Raina, Muzaffar (15 September 2011). "Omar confirms split from wife". The Telegraph (Kolkata).
  18. ^ Ganai, Naseer (16 September 2011). "Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announces separation from wife Payal Nath". India Today.
  19. ^ "In pics: The Omar and Payal Abdullah years". News18. 27 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Apoorva gets lookalikes!". The Times of India. 11 June 2008. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013.
  21. ^ "Director Apoorva Lakhia on Mission Istanbul". 24 July 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  22. ^ Omar Abdullah–Profile Conflict Between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia, by Peter Lyon. Published by ABC-CLIO, 2008. ISBN 1-57607-712-8. Page 1.
  23. ^ "Omar loses Ganderbal, NC prepares to sit in Opposition". 10 October 2002. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  24. ^ "Omar Abdullah's visit to Pakistan". Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  25. ^ Give us a voice, says NC’s Omar Abdullah, floors House with own Archived 4 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine Indian Express, 23 July 2008.
  26. ^ Omar Abdullah wins many fans on YouTube Archived 26 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine News, 24 July 2008.
  27. ^ Omar Abdullah to go Kalam way on internet Live Mint, 5 January 2009.
  28. ^ Kashmir pins hopes on young, energetic Omar Abdullah The Hindu, Tuesday, 6 January 2009: 1515 Hrs.
  29. ^ By Altaf Hussain (7 July 2009). "Another woman 'killed' in Kashmir". BBC News, Srinagar. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  30. ^ S Murari (22 June 2009). "Kashmir in turmoil over suspected rape and murder". Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  31. ^ Bhat, Sunil (5 December 2019). "NC demands immediate release of Farooq and Omar Abdullah". India Today. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  32. ^ Masoodi, Nazir (7 February 2020). "Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti Charged Under Public Safety Act". NDTV. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  33. ^ Masoodi, Nazir (9 February 2020). "Omar Abdullah's Twitter Clout Behind Tough New Charge: Government Dossier". NDTV. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  34. ^ Raina, Muzaffar (10 February 2020). "Charge: Omar got voters to defy boycotts". The Telegraph (Kolkata). Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  35. ^ Masood, Bashaarat (10 February 2020). "PSA file indicts Omar Abdullah for getting people to vote, refers to Mehbooba Mufti as 'Daddy's girl'". Indian Express. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  36. ^ Ashiq, Peerzada (10 February 2020). "Omar Abdullah used politics to cover his radical ideology: Public Safety Act dossier". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  37. ^ Haidar, Suhasini (10 February 2020). "Omar Abdullah's sister moves SC challenging his detention under PSA". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  38. ^ "Omar Abdullah's Sister Files Petition in Supreme Court Against His Detention Under PSA". The Wire. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  39. ^ Emmanuel, Meera (10 February 2020). "[Breaking] Detention of Omar Abdullah under Public Safety Act challenged in Supreme Court by sister, Sara Pilot". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  40. ^ "Omar Abdullah's sister moves SC challenging his detention under PSA". Livemint. 10 February 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  41. ^ "J-K leader Shah Faesal booked under Public Safety Act". NDTV. 14 February 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  42. ^ Krishnan, Murali (14 February 2020). "Supreme Court issues notice to Jammu and Kashmir to respond to Sara Abdullah's plea challenging brother Omar's detention". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  43. ^ a b Ashiq, Peerzada (24 March 2020). "Omar Abdullah calls for immediate release of others in preventive detention". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 24 March 2020.

External links[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Srinagar

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
(Governor's Rule)
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
(Governor's Rule)