New Hurriyat chief's son joins Hizbul Mujahideen

Police chief urges Sehrai to appeal for shunning gun
Last Updated : 24 March 2018, 15:35 IST
Last Updated : 24 March 2018, 15:35 IST
Last Updated : 24 March 2018, 15:35 IST
Last Updated : 24 March 2018, 15:35 IST

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The son of the successor of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has joined the militancy in Kashmir, even as his AK-47-wielding picture went viral on social media on Saturday.

Police sources said Junaid Ashraf Khan (28), son of Ashraf Sehrai, who was  recently elected as the new chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat just two days ago, has joined the Hizb-ul Mujahideen outfit.

This is the first time that the son of a senior separatist leader of Sehrai's stature has joined the militancy in Kashmir.

"The family has lodged a missing report with us. His brother Rashid Ashraf arrived at the police station today (Saturday) afternoon and told us that his brother is missing since yesterday," a police official of uptown Sadder police station, said.

The family, according to the police, stated in the missing report that Junaid went for Friday prayers and had told his family that he will return in the evening after repairing his mobile phone.

However, he didn't return in the evening prompting his family to lodge the missing report on Saturday.  

Hours after his family lodged the missing report, a picture of Junaid holding an AK-47 rifle appeared on social networking websites. The message with the picture suggests that he has joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

Junaid presently resides in Srinagar's uptown Baghat area and has an MBA from Kashmir University. He is a native of Tikipora village in northern Kupwara, which is also the village of Mannan Wani, a scholar  from Aligarh Muslim University, who recently joined the Hizbul. The two are reportedly friends.

The state police chief Shesh Pal Vaid termed Sehrai's son joining militant ranks as "unfortunate"  and urged the separatist leader to appeal his son and other local boys to shun the gun.

"This is very unfortunate. I urge Sehari, since he is in command,  to appeal to his son and other local boys wielding the gun to return. He himself should take a lead in entering into dialogue so that youth of Kashmir are saved from the path of violence," Vaid told reporters.

74-year-old Sehrai was recently elected as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat after Geelani relinquished his post.

Geelani was the founding chairman of Hurriyat since it was formed in 2004, while Sehrai was the organisation's general secretary.

Immediately after his election as new chairman, Sehrai lashed out at those supporting the Islamic State ideology, saying it has nothing to do with Kashmir.

"Some elements are creating confusion among masses by raising  IS 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 the elections," he said,  referring to the funeral of militant Eisa Fazili in Soura Srinagar recently.

"Daesh and Al-Qaida have nothing to do with our movement and we will never accept them," Sehrai said. He urged the youth not to get swayed by the extremist ideology and understand Islam  from a  correct perspective.

Published 24 March 2018, 15:16 IST

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