New Delhi: Kashmiri separatist leader Altaf Ahmad Shah, the son-in-law of the late Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Gilani, passed away at AIIMS, Delhi late Monday night. He was 66.
Shah, who was in Tihar Jail in a terror-funding case since 2017, was taken to the hospital on 5 October in critical condition. He was admitted to the urology department and was suffering from renal cancer.
Shah was incarcerated for raising, receiving and collecting money to fund separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, including causing disruption in the Valley, burning schools, damaging public property and “waging war against India”.
Soon after Shah’s death his daughter and journalist Ruwa tweeted: “Abu breathed his last at AIIMS, New Delhi. As a prisoner.”
Earlier Tuesday, she took to Twitter again to say that the family had been waiting at the AIIMS mortuary, but nobody from the police or a magistrate was at the hospital to release the body. “The delay will worsen the situation. Have to be at airport 3 hrs prior to last flight at 18.30,” she said in the tweet, tagging the offices of the Prime Minister and Home Minister.
On 30 September, the journalist had sent out an appeal on Twitter: “My incarcerated father has been diagnosed of acute renal cancer which has metastasis and has spread to his other body parts, including his bones. It is my whole family’s request to please allow us to see him and consider his bail application on health ground.”
In a letter to the Union Home Minister, Ruwa had asked Shah’s bail conditions be reconsidered in light of the circumstances and that he be put under house arrest. So that the family could treat him in a private hospital.
Ruwa had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 September highlighting her father’s failing health.
Ruwa expressed her helplessness at not seeing her father, in an interview with ThePrint published on 1 October. The family had been just informed that Shah had late-stage cancer. She complained that her father was in the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in Delhi (before being admitted in AIIMS four days later) which “lacked cancer treatment”.
Ruwa informed that Shah was first taken to the jail hospital in mid-September after he complained of severe pain in his left abdomen. The jail doctor had advised a CT scan of his kidney but “authorities were unmoved”, she said.
Ruwa said Shah had complained of his declining health to her brother Anees-ul-Islam when he visited Tihar on 20 September. “But my father was shifted to RML two to three days after my brother’s visit,” she told ThePrint.