Muhammad Ashraf Sahrayee, Chairman, Jammu & Kashmir Tehreek-e-Hurriyet passed away today under police custody in Jammu hospital. He was 80. He was Kashmir’s one of the most courageous and fearless leaders. Very knowledgeable and talented personality. A man with a mission, he never placed personal considerations above the lofty aspirations of the Kashmiri people. And now he belongs to the ages. That characterisation celebrates the death of a giant in Kashmir’s turbulent history. Sahrayee, as he was commonly known, was a thinker, scholar and a gemstone of intellect and logic. I knew him for five decades.
Sehrayee was arrested under draconian law, Jammu Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) on July 12. 2020 and was shifted to Udhampur Jail in Jammu, 200 miles from his residence. India uses PSA as a tool of repression, suppression and subjugation. Under this law, a person can be detained for up to two years without trial. Therefore, Amnesty International calls PSA as, “Lawless Law.”
Sahrayee had multiple serious medical illnesses, including partial hearing loss from torture. Lately he had developed symptoms of poor eye sight. His family remembers had urged the prison authority and state government to provide him medical treatment, which was denied. His health condition deteriorated day by day and was shifted to Jammu hospital on May 4, 2021 where he breathed his last. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.
Sahrayee was in jail not because he was guilty of a crime but because he advocated and propagated the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, which was, pledged to them under United Nations Security Council resolutions as early as in 1948.
Sahrayee was a great writer, orator and scholar. He lectured about the Kashmir dispute, almost in every nook and corner of the State. He always pleaded that people’s wishes and sentiments must be respected and Kashmir dispute has to be resolved under the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Sahrayee was always a truth teller and never kept his people in dark. He told them that we have a long road ahead of us which needs big and conscious sacrifices. And people of Kashmir know it well that his family has proved to be a symbol of sacrifice and dedication.
The nation of Jammu & Kashmir will miss him greatly and deeply But we are glad that he never let the people of Jammu & Kashmir down!
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum Washington, DC firstname.lastname@example.org