Conflicts & War

Jailed Indian Kashmiri separatist leader dies in hospital

Srinagar, India, May 5 (EFE).- A jailed separatist leader in India-administered Kashmir Wednesday passed away at a hospital where he had shifted from a prison a day ago.

Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, 78, was arrested in July last year under a draconian law that allows the detention of suspects without trial for up to two years.

“I was informed by authorities that my father breathed his last today afternoon,” Mujahid Ashraf told EFE.

Sehrai was lodged at district jail Udhampur, some 250 km from his home in Srinagar, the main city of the disputed Kashmir region.

The son said Sehrai’s health condition deteriorated and shifted to a government hospital in Jammu “due to the continuous detention and lack of proper treatment.”

Sehrai was first arrested in 1962 for his anti-India stance, one of his close aides told EFE.

He also said Sehrai had spent more than 16 years of his life in different jails of Kashmir and other parts of India.

Sehrai was among the hundreds of Kashmiri politicians arrested in the aftermath of the abrogation of the disputed region’s semi-autonomous status in August 2019.

According to government data, some 4,350 persons are in different jails of Kashmir.

Hundreds of other Kashmiris are in different jails of India.

Authorities recently shifted dozens of prisoners from overcrowded Kashmir jails to de-congest the prisons because of the Covid-19 situation.

But the relatives expressed anguish over the shifting of their kith and kin to the jails in Covid-19-affected areas.

Khadeeja, a resident of central Kashmir Budgam district, said her husband, Imtiyaz Hyder, was taken to a jail in the northern state of Haryana, which is severely affected by the coronavirus.

Hyder, a separatist, is has been in jail since 2019.

Sehar Shah, the 19-year-old daughter of jailed Shabir Shah, a well-known separatist leader, has initiated an online campaign to seek the release or shifting of her father and other Kashmiri prisoners in the wake of the Covid-19 situation.

“My father is a political prisoner who is not going to fled anywhere if he is released on parole, keeping in view the Covid-19 situation and his ailing health conditions,” Sehar told EFE.

Shah is in the Tihar jail of New Delhi, along with over 40 Kashmiri separatist leaders and activists, including three women.

Relatives of Kashmiri prisoners allege that the authorities have adopted an “inhuman” attitude towards Kashmiri prisoners.

“I lost my mother recently to a deadly disease in absence of my father, Ayaz Akbar, who is imprisoned at Tihar jail July 2017,” Sarwar, a resident of Srinagar, told EFE.

Akbar is also a close aide of Geelani.

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