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  India   All India  25 Mar 2018  New Hurriyat chief Sehrai’s son missing; may have joined Hizb

New Hurriyat chief Sehrai’s son missing; may have joined Hizb

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Mar 25, 2018, 1:40 am IST
Updated : Mar 25, 2018, 2:43 am IST

Srinagar's SSP Imtiyaz Ismail has confirmed receiving a complaint from the family and said that it has taken the cognisance of the same.

Junaid Ashraf
 Junaid Ashraf

Srinagar: Days after Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, a close confidante of Kashmir's separatist patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani, replaced him as the chief of Tehrik-e-Hurriyat (TeH), the former's son has gone missing, giving anxious moments to the family and friends.

The family sources said that Sehrai’s son Junaid Ashraf Khan left his home in Srinagar's Baghat area on March 23 afternoon to offer Friday prayers at a nearby mosque but did not return home.

“He also told them that after namaz he would be going to Lal Chowk (the City centre) to get his mobile phone repaired. The family waited for him till (Friday) evening but when he didn't return it reported the matter to the police,” said the sources.

Srinagar's SSP Imtiyaz Ismail has confirmed receiving a complaint from the family and said that it has taken the cognisance of the same.

The police sources said that Junaid's brother Raashid Ashraf visited Srinagar's Saddar police station on Saturday afternoon to report that his 26-year-old brother was missing since Friday.

Sahrai took over as the new head of TeH, virtually a breakaway wing of his and Geelani's parent organisation Jamaat-e-Islami, on March 19. The TeH is the dominant constituent of the Hurriyat Conference faction led by octogenarian leader (Geelani). It was launched in 2004 after Geelani reached an "agreement" with the Jamaat.

Meanwhile, a photograph showing Junaid with an assault rifle has gone viral on social media. The message with the photograph says that he has joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit. The police officials said that they are verifying the veracity of the photograph. "We're trying to find out if this is a fresh photograph taken after Junaid went missing or it is an old one," said a police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Soon after his appointment, Sehrai had asserted that those raising the Islamic State or Daesh flags in Kashmir were helping New Delhi. It set off a debate on social media and he was both appreciated and criticised for his remarks.

The septuagenarian separatist leader had told Greater Kashmir newspaper in an interview that Aazadi camp in Kashmir does not have a global agenda, it has nothing to do with the Daesh and its ideology and that the organisations with an international agenda have no role in Kashmir.

"Some elements are creating confusion among masses by raising ISIS flags at the funeral of militants. We have kept a close watch on them, and will soon chart out a plan to stop them after TeH elections. Expressing concern over the "ISIS thinking" finding resonance among a section of youth, he had said, "It could be the handiwork of agencies keen to defame the Kashmir movement and undermine its indigenous character…Our agenda is simple. We only want Kashmir to be free from Indian occupation. Nothing else."

The police sources had earlier said effort to trace Sehrai's son is underway. The police has got in touch with Junaid's close friends and some acquaintances. The sources had also said that it would wrong to jump on conclusions or try to link Junaid's disappearance with the politics of his father.

Meanwhile, two Jaish-e-Muhammad militants were killed in a gun battle with the security forces in Doru area of southern Anantnag district overnight. The police said that both of them were Pakistani nationals and that the operation ended “without any collateral damage.”

Tags: hizb-ul-mujahideen, syed ali shah geelani, ashraf sehrai
Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar