Human rights lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi, who practised at the Supreme Court, passed away on the morning of Thursday, 9 February, due to a heart attack. He was in his thirties and was a vocal critic of Hindutva.
In 2021, he headed a fact-finding team which published a report on communal violence in Tripura. Following this, the Tripura police booked him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act but the Supreme Court later ordered that no coercive steps including arrest could be taken against him.
Hashmi had also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court demanding that internet shutdowns be declared "unconstitutional, illegal and unenforceable."
The petition came in the backdrop of arbitrary internet shutdowns in India, particularly the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Several lawyers, activists and politicians mourned Hashmi's death.
Lawyer Anas Tanwir said:
"Woke up to this shocking news. Still not sinking in. This is a huge loss to fraternity and community."
National Spokesperson of Samajwadi Party Ameeque Jamal too took to twitter to express his condolences.
"Our hero became silent forever, heart attack and brain haemorrhage snatched Ehtesham Hashmi from us, can't believe it, vivacious man who talked about pain on every issue will not come live on FB now," he said.