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Sunday, June 10, 2012


Major (retired) Avtar Singh
Ex-Indian Army officer kills family, self in US 
Los Angeles, June 10
A former Indian Army officer, Major Avtar Singh, who was wanted in India for the murder of a prominent Kashmiri lawyer, has killed himself along with his wife and two children in his California home.
Singh (47) had fled to the United States after he was accused of killing Jaleel Andrabi, a Kashmiri lawyer and activist associated with the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), whose body was found floating in the Jhelum River in March 1996.
Andrabi, 42, was allegedly detained by a unit of Rashtriya Rifles led by Major Singh and his body was found a day later.
Authorities in Selma, California, believe Singh shot his family and then took his own life. Singh was found dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to his head, officials said.
Singh called Selma police around 6:15 am yesterday and told them that he had killed members of his family and was going to kill himself, quoted the Fresno County Sheriff's Office as saying.
A woman, believed to be Singh's wife, and a three-year-old boy were found in the home's master bedroom dead of gunshot wounds to the head, officials said.
The body of a 15-year-old boy was discovered in another bedroom, also with a gunshot wound to the head.
Selma police called the Fresno County Sheriff's Office to assist because they were aware that Singh had military experience in India, the report said.
Outside Singh's home, officers and deputies tried to contact him verbally and by telephone, but he did not respond.
File photo of Jaleel Andrabi
File photo of Jaleel Andrabi 
Srinagar, June 10
As the news about the suicide by former Major Avtar Singh, the main accused in the 1996 killing of Kashmiri lawyer Jaleel Andrabi, broke this morning, the Andrabi family in uptown Srinagar rued that had New Delhi got the former Army officer extradited to India, three lives could have been saved.

“Avtar Singh’s family would have been alive if the government had conducted the trial and got him extradited from the US,” Jaleel’s elder brother Arshad Andrabi said.
Arshad said the J&K police, New Delhi, the US Government and the Interpol failed to bring justice to them. “It is also the failure of justice at all levels,” Arshad said.
Avtar Singh reportedly killed his wife and two of their children in their California home before committing suicide today. Avtar Singh, as per reports, had called the Selma police in California about the death of three family members before ending his life.
“Had Avtar Singh, against whom there was an Interpol red-corner notice, faced trial, other details about the murder of my brother would have also come to the fore.
He could not have killed my brother all alone. There must have been other persons who must have been instrumental in the killing of the noted lawyer,” Arshad said, adding that five FIRs were registered against Avtar Singh.
The 36-year-old lawyer and human rights activist, Jaleel Andrabi, was arrested by an Army team, led by a Major, on March 8, 1996, when he was driving home along with his wife. Some 20 days later, Andrabi’s decomposed, trussed-up body was recovered from the Jhelum.
The report of a special investigation team set up by the J&K High Court in June 1996 identified “an Army Major of 103 Territorial Army posted at Rawalpora as prima facie responsible for the death”.
On the orders of the High Court, a murder case was registered against Major Avtar Singh and others. Singh later fled to the US after he was accused of murder.
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, Mohammed Ibrahim Wani on February 6, 2010, issued an Interpol red-corner notice against Major Avtar Singh.
The court had also directed the J&K Government and the Ministry of External Affairs to vigorously pursue the extradition of Major Avtar Singh. The case is now pending for trial before the court of the CJM, Srinagar, for over a decade.
Singh was arrested by the California police in February this year following a complaint by his wife in connection with a domestic dispute.
A noted human rights activist, Khuram Parvaiz, said the “impunity granted by the Indian state facilitated the murder of three more persons by Avtar Singh”.
“His suicide and the murder of his family members is no justice for Kashmiris. Justice is still awaited...,” he said.

A peep into the case
l Jaleel Andrabi was arrested by an Army Major on March 8, 1996
l Jaleel’s decomposed body was recovered from the Jhelum on May 27
l SIT was set up by the J&K High Court in June 1996, which identified Major Avtar Singh for Andrabi’s death
l Singh later fled to the US after he was accused of murder
l The CJM, Srinagar, on Febuaray 6, 2010, issued an Interpol red-corner notice against Major Avtar Singh. The court also directed the government to extradite him from the US
l The case is lying pending for trial before the court of the CJM, Srinagar, for over a decade.

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