Jailed Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Sehrai dies

He developed pneumonia in Udhampur Jail and was shifted to the govt hospital in Jammu on Tuesday

Jailed Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Ashraf Sehrai, a close aide of senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, died in a Jammu hospital on Wednesday.

According to hospital sources, Sehrai developed pneumonia in the Udhampur Jail and was shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu on Tuesday.

“His Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) came negative and the RT-PCR result is still awaited,” an official said.

Sehrai, 77, who was a strong contender to succeed Mr. Geelani to head the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat, was arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) last year immediately after he offered funeral prayers to his militant son Junaid Sehrai, killed in an encounter in Srinagar in May.

Mr. Sehrai, who was a Jamaat-e-Islami ideologue, was considered “a moderate and rational voice” within the Hurriyat and was widely respected by other factions of the Hurriyat. He played a key role in unifying different factions of separatists.

His family had recently requested the J&K administration to release him “because his health was falling in the jail”.

“…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,” Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone said in a tweet.

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