Srinagar, February 28 : In occupied Kashmir, the family members of Jaleel Andrabi, a prominent Kashmiri human right lawyer, who was murdered by an Indian Army officer, Major Avtar Singh, in 1996, have demanded his extradition from the US. Avtar Singh has been released on bail from the jail in a domestic violence case and is now on the radar of California police and the US State Department in connection with the 15-year-old murder case.
Arshad Andrabi, the brother of the martyred lawyer, in a media interview in Srinagar said, “The case of Major Avtar Singh’s extradition has been deliberately delayed by the Indian government so far. He could have been arrested by Indian Police in 2002 when he was serving with Territorial Army in Haryana. Since then the prosecution has been feigning ignorance about his whereabouts.” He apprehended that India did not seem serious to get Avtar Singh extradited from the US this time again.
It is pertinent that Major Avtar served in occupied Kashmir in 1990s and was at large since he killed Jaleel Andrabi after kidnapping him. Jaleel was abducted by Avtar Singh on March 8, 1996 and his decomposed body was recovered from river Jhelum few weeks later. The case was brought to life after Avtar was arrested in California on domestic violence charges. Local police discovered that Singh was wanted on an Interpol hold, but when they contacted the police agency and the US State Department they said it was not necessary to hold Singh so he was bailed out of jail despite murder charges levelled against him in the occupied territory.
The case is pending trial before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar for over a decade now. Jaleel’s family members had on November 19, 2009 submitted an application before the CJM seeking reinvestigation into the case.-KMS