Jailed Under PSA, Top Separatist Leader Ashraf Sehrai Passes Away

Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai’s health started deteriorating at Kot Bhalwal jail, where he was detained under Public Safety Act (PSA) for the past year.
Ashraf Sehrai
Separatist Leader Ashraf Sehrai

One of the top separatist leaders and Chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, passed away on Wednesday morning. He was a close aide of senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

Sahrai was taken to the government medical college in Jammu on Tuesday when his health started deteriorating at Kot Bhalwal jail where he was detained under Public Safety Act (PSA) for the past year.

Sehrai was born in 1944 in Tekipora village of Lolab Valley in border district Kupwara. He graduated from Aligarh Muslim University and after that, he remained associated with Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2018, Sehrai was elected as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a constituent of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which was previously headed by Geelani. Sehrai’s younger son, Junaid Khan, was a militant associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and was killed in a gunfight in Srinagar on May 19, 2020.

“Deeply saddened to know about Ashraf Sehrai sahab’s sudden demise. Like him countless political prisoners & other detainees from J&K continue to be jailed purely for their ideologies & thought process. In today’s India one pays a price with his life for dissent,” former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.

“The least GOI can do in such dangerous circumstances is to immediately release these detainees on parole so that they return home to their families,” Mehbooba said.

Deeply saddened to know about Ashraf Sehrai sahab’s sudden demise. Like him countless political prisoners & other detainees from J&K continue to be jailed purely for their ideologies & thought process. In today’s India one pays a price with his life for dissent.

— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) May 5, 2021
“Ashraf Sehrai Sahib passes away. A long political career comes to an end. Ashraf Sahib struggled all his life. A Jamaat ideologue. When I was 19 I bumped into him and He told me Tel ur father —kitney haseen hain terey lab ki galiyan dekey bemaza na hua.May Allah grant him Jannat,” tweeted Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone.

Ashraf Sehrai Sahib passes away. A long political career comes to an end. Ashraf Sahib struggled all his life. A Jamaat ideologue. When I was 19 I bumped into him and He told me Tel ur father —kitney haseen hain terey lab ki galiyan dekey bemaza na hua.May Allah grant him Jannat

— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) May 5, 2021
“This is the irony of Kashmiri politics. Top quality politicians consumed by the conflict. The ideological versatility of Kashmir politics is a curse. A transparently honest politician spent decades in jail,” read another tweet by Lone.

This is the irony of Kashmiri politics. Top quality politicians consumed by the conflict. The ideological versatility of Kashmir politics is a curse. A transparently honest politician spent decades in jail.

— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) May 5, 2021
“And why did he have to die in incarceration and not at his home amongst his kin and loved ones. Have we become so weak that an old infirm dying person is a threat to the state. I am not being critical. But please introspect. Sehrai Sahib was a political leader not a terrorist,” Lone said.

And why did he have to die in incarceration and not at his home amongst his kin and loved ones. Have we become so weak that an old infirm dying person is a threat to the state. I am not being critical. But please introspect. Seharai Sahib was a political leader not a terrorist.

— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) May 5, 2021
“Death of every aged leader inside jails due to pandemic is a political assassination. Remember government has options,” PDP spokesman Najmu Saqib tweeted.

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA) described Sahrai’s death as “custodial murder.”

“He was ailing in jail for past so many weeks without any health care and was reluctantly shifted to GMC Jammu yesterday in a serious condition. Bar Association describes the death of Sehrai as custodial murder and feels genuine concern for the life of other Kashmiri prisoners,” a Bar statement alleged.

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