Srinagar, May 06, KDC: Separatist leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai has been laid to rest at Martyrs graveyard in his ancestral village in Tekipora Lolab on Thursday early morning. The authorities anticipating large participation had put strict restrictions on the entry of outside people even as disallowing the local residents from participating in the last rites of the departed leader on apprehensions of law and order situation coupled with prevailing COVID-19 situation.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar according to news agency KDC said that the mortal remains of Sehrai reached his native village in Tekipora Lolab at around 3:30 AM after being ferried back from GMC hospital Jammu on Wednesday adding that burial of separatist leader late Ashraf Sehrai completed as per Covid protocol in presence of family members at his native place.
Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai who was facing detention under Public safety Act (PSA) passed away after a brief illness at GMC hospital in Jammu.
‘Sehrai’, the leader, was shifted to the hospital after he complained of breathlessness in Udhampur jail, where he has been since July 12, 2020 under the Public Safety Act.
Sources at Government Medical College, Jammu, told KDC that Sehrai’s oxygen levels had decreased to 65 and he had developed bilateral pneumonia in the jail. Although Sehrai’s rapid antigen test came negative for COVID-19, the results of the RT-PCR test have tested COVID-19 positive posthumously.
Who is Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai alias ‘Sehrai’?
Sehrai was born in 1944 in Tekipora village of Lolab Valley in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. He is survived by his wife, three sons – Khalid Ashraf, Rashid Ashraf and Mujahid Ashraf – and two daughters.
Sehrai completed his primary education in his hometown Tekipora and secondary education from Sogam Lolab High School in 1959. After clearing secondary examination, he moved to Uttar Pradesh where he did Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Urdu from Aligarh Muslim University.
Sehrai became an affiliate of Syed Ali Shah Geelani in 1959 after being encouraged to do so by his elder brother. He has stated that he officially became a member as a “rukun” of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1960. Sehrai was jailed for the first time in 1965 over antigovernmental activities.
He was considered the shadow of Syed Ali Geelani, with whom he galvanized Kashmir’s top socio-political organization, the now banned Jamaat-e-Islami. The two built it into a party recognised as the frontline of resistance in Kashmir.
Ashraf Sehrai was elected as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a constituent of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which was previously headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani,
After being elected as chairman, his son Junaid Sehrai joined militancy immediately after he was elected as chairman of the TeH. Junaid was killed in an encounter in Srinagar on May 19 last year 26th of Ramadan.
In July 2020 separatist leader Ashraf Sehrai was arrested from his residence in Srinagar by the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police and was lodged at Udhampur Jail under Public Safety Act (PSA).
The Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said despite repeated appeals to release political prisoners lodged in various jails on humanitarian grounds in view of the devastating COVID-19 crisis, authorities are playing with prisoners’ lives.
He said “In the death of Sehrai people of J&K have lost a sincere and honest leader. Sehrai’s contribution to the people’s movement will always be remembered and honoured by the people”.
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said that the irony of Kashmiri politics is that an honest politician like Sehrai had to spend decades in jail adding that he was not a terrorist.
“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,” Sajad tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association in a statement called Sehrai’s death a “custodial murder” and asked the authorities to investigate it through an impartial enquiry.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also expressed condolences.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imarn Khan and his National Security Adviser Moeed Yousuf expressed sadness over the death of Sehrai. (KDC)