Srinagar: Jailed Kashmiri separatist Altaf Ahmad Shah has died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He was in Delhi’s Tihar Jail for last five years after being arrested on charges of funding terrorism. After initially being admitted to RML Hospital in Delhi, he’d been shifted to AIIMS a few days ago on court orders after her family said he had renal cancer.
“Abu breathed his last at AIIMS, New Delhi. As a prisoner,” tweeted his daughter Ruwa Shah. She tweeted the Quranic verse recited at the time of bad news, in Arabic: “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (‘Surely, we belong to Allah and verily to Him do we return’).”
Altaf Shah, 66, was a son-in- law and close aide of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, one of Kashmir’s top separatists, who died on September 1 last year.
The family has alleged that Altaf Shah was not given the medical help he needed for cancer. He was shifted to AIIMS only after the family went to the Delhi High Court.
Altaf Shah had been arrested as part of a major crackdown on separatists by the National Investigation Agency.
He’s the third separatist to have died in jail in the last two years. In May last year, Mohammad Ashraf Khan ‘Sehrai’, who was jailed in Jammu, died at a hospital. He was chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a separatist outfit founded by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Earlier, a Jamaat-e-Islami separatist booked under the Public Safety Act died in a jail in Uttar Pradesh.
Over the past few days, Altaf Shah’s daughter Ruwa Shah had posted a series of tweets about her father’s deteriorating condition. She had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to release him on health grounds, so that he could “die a free man”.
Ordering his shifting to AIIMS, the Delhi High Court said in its October 3 order: “Medical record submitted on behalf of the petitioner reflects that the petitioner is suffering from various ailments. The petitioner is also diagnosed with renal cancer although there is no such medical document submitted.”
“However, without going into the merits of the case as the right to have adequate and suitable treatment is the part of fundamental right as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution,” it had ruled.