Alleged Murderer of Kashmir Human Rights Lawyer Kills Family in California

June 11, 2012

Retired Indian Army Major Avtar Singh, wanted for the murder of human rights activist Jalil Andrabi, shot and killed at least three members of his family before turning the gun on himself outside of Fresno, California on June 9th.

He was arrested in 2011 for alleged domestic violence incident where he was accused of choking of wife. He was then released from custody mainly because the Indian government could not be bothered to seek his extradition despite being wanted for murder charges in Jammu and Kashmir.

The head of the Kashmir Commission of Jurists, Jalil Andrabi was killed at the height of protests in Kashmir against Indian rule in the disputed region. Andrabi disappeared in March 1996 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir. His body was recovered 19 days later in the Jhelum River. He had been shot in the head, and his eyes were gouged out.

A police investigation blamed Maj. Singh and his men for that killing and also accused Maj. Singh of involvement in the killings of six other Kashmiri men.

He had been charged in Kashmir only with Andrabi’s killing. J&K police sought permission from the central government for Maj. Singh’s prosecution in the six other killings.

Maj. Singh fled India after he was accused of killing Andrabi. He was tracked to California in 2009 with the help of the Canadian Centre for International Justice, a human rights advocacy group, but New Delhi did not pursue extradition.

Along with Jalil Andrabi and at least three family members of Avtar Singh are now dead. As Jalil Andrabi’s brother Arshad Andrabi said: “It’s a failure of justice at all levels.”