Jammu: Senior separatist leader and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) Chairman Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai died in Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu after developing serious breathing issues on Wednesday.
Officials said Sehrai who was shifted from Udhampur jail to GMC Jammu yesterday had developed serious breathing issues and breathed his last this afternoon.
“He had multiple ailments and his condition had deteriorated in Udhampur jail after which he was shifted to GMC Jammu on Tuesday,” the officials said.
The family of Sehrai said an ambulance has been provided and the body will reach Kashmir probably midnight.
The family members said that the authorities have not allowed the funeral prayers at Srinagar and thus the last rites will be performed in Kupwara.
They said only 20 persons have been allowed to participate in the funeral prayers and performing last rites. “It has not been decided yet who will lead the funeral prayers. Let’s see who will be allowed to participate first”.
“The last rites including the burial will be performed till 10:00 am tomorrow,” the family members said.
Sehrai had tested positive for COVID-19.
In July 2020, Sehrai was arrested under Public Safety Act and lodged at district jail Udhampur.
Sehrai was appointed as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s General Secretary in 2004 during its foundation. Later on March 19, 2018, he was appointed the acting chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat after Syed Ali Geelani stepped down.
Former CM and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba taking to micro blogging site Twitter said, “Deeply saddened to know about Ashraf Sehrai sahab’s sudden demise”.
While expressing grief over demise of Sehrai, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami urged the administration to shift his body to Kashmir at the earliest so that his family could perform his last rites.
In a condolence message he extended solidarity with the bereaved family and urged the administration to facilitate them in performing his last rites without any difficulties.
Former minister and Peoples Conference (PC) president Sajjad Gani Lone in a tweet said “ 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” .
He further said “ 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”.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed deep grief and sorrow at the demise of Sehari.
A Hurriyat spokesman asked the Government authorities to release all political prisoners lodged in jails across J&K and outside in view of the covid catastrophe on health and humanitarian grounds and save their lives.
Meanwhile, Apni Party (AP) President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari also expressed deep shock and grief over the demise of Sehrai, who passed away at a Jammu hospital today.
In a condolence message issued here, Bukhari extended solidarity with the bereaved family and prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul. “I pray to almighty Allah to grant Jannat to Sehrai Saheb, and give courage to his family to bear this huge loss. Apni Party stands in solidarity with Sehrai Saheb’s family at this difficult period of time,” he added.