From Times of India: “Indian Army Major who murdered Kashmir activist Arrested”
A former army major accused of the extrajudicial killing of a noted Kashmir human rights activist has been arrested in the US and would be handed over to the state police within a fortnight, Jammu & Kashmir police said on Monday.
According to reports, fomer Major Avtar singh was arrested by the California police after his wife accused him of beating her. “It was the victim (wife) who informed the police in the US that he was also wanted in the murder case of one of the human right activists in Kashmir in India,” the reports said.
On March 8, 1996, Major Avtar Singh, known as “Bulbul” (nightingale), of the 35th Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Indian army arrested Jaleel Andrabi, a human right activist near Barazulla on airport road when the activist was driving home along with his wife. The Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association filed a habeas corpus petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on March 9, and the court ordered the army to produce Andrabi. However, the army denied that Andrabi was in custody. Over the next two weeks, the court continued to grant the government extensions for replying to the petition.
The trussed-up body of Jalil Andrabi, a prominent human rights lawyer was found in the Kursuraj Bagh area of Srinagar on the banks of the Jhelum river on the morning of March 27, 1996. Andrabi, who was forty-two, had been shot in the head and his eyes had been gouged out. An autopsy showed that he had been killed days after his arrest. As a result, the case for murder against the accused officer was pending adjudication in a Srinagar court.
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar, Mohammed Ibrahim Wani on Febuaray 6, 2010 issued interpol red corner notice against Major Avtar singh. The CJM directed the Ministry of Home affairs to forward the arrest warrant to Interpol through its office in New Delhi. The accused army officer, it is now learnt, has been hiding in Calfornia, US.
“Yes we located the accused former Major. The US police informed the interpol and in turn they communicated us,” said Raja Ajaz Ali Inspector general of Crime wing in Jammu and Kashmir police.
Raja Ajaz , who is also laison officer of interpol in Jammu and Kashmir, said that the accused was in the preventive custody of the US police in Calforia and would shifted to Srinagar in fifteen days.
“We were asked by the interpol and the US police to furnish fresh warrants against the accused and we have acquired the same from sessions court in Srinagar,” IG crime branch said. According to IG Raja Ajaz Ali, the ministry of home affairs has also been informed about the intimation by the interpol and they have allowed the JK police to proceed in judicial extradition process by the concrend court.
The National Human Rights Commission and the courts in Jammu and Kashmir had been blaming the police for not acting against the accused.