US shelters custodial killers of Kashmiris

FOURTEEN and a half years earlier, the trussed-up body of Jalil Andrabi, a prominent human rights lawyer and pro-independence political activist associated with the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, was found in the Kursuraj Bagh area of Srinagar on the banks of the Jhelum River on the morning of March 27, 1996. According to press reports, the body was in a burlap bag. Andrabi, who was forty-two, had been shot in the head and his eyes had been gouged out. He had apparently been dead for at least one week. According to eye-witnesses, Andrabi was detained at about 6:00 pm on March 8 by a Rashtriya Rifles unit of the army which intercepted his car a few hundred yards from his home in Srinagar. On March 9, the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association filed a habeas corpus petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, 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. Jalil Andrabi had been subjected to extrajudicial execution allegedly by Indian paramilitary troopers and renegades, his killer was Major Avtar Singh, known as “Bulbul” (nightingale), of the 35th Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Indian army. Andrabi’s wife was told repeatedly by senior police officials that Andrabi was in custody and would be released. Three weeks later, Andrabi’s body was found floating in the Jhelum River; an autopsy showed that he had been killed days after his arrest. A case is pending adjudication in a Budgam court against Major Avtar Singh. The high court has time and again directed the government to get the major arrested. Instead of honouring the court order, the union of India has informed the court that Major Avtar Singh’s whereabouts were not known.

The relatives of the slain activist believe that New Delhi facilitated his migration to Canada by issuing him a fake passport. The murder had sparked widespread protests in Kashmir and condemnation from civil liberties groups in India and abroad. In Srinagar, a protest march led by JKLF leader Yasin Malik was disrupted by police who beat up members of the crowd, smashed a number of reporters’ cameras and seized the body. The police also fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd. In a statement released on March 29, the United States condemned the murder and called for a “full and transparent investigation.” On April 2, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Jose Ayala Lasso called on the government of India to “undertake a thorough investigation … with a view to establishing the facts and imposing sanctions on those found guilty of the crime.” On April 3, India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced that it would send a team to Kashmir to investigate the killing, but Major Avatar was never found.The Daily Mail has discovered that Major Avtar Singh has found shelter in California, United States.

Jalil Andrabi’s brother, Arshad Andrabi, who is also his lawyer has disclosed the whereabouts of the absconding Indian Major, who has been in hiding since he conducted the heinous cold blooded murder. Unfortunately, President Obama, who finds fault with India for not condemning the Myanmar regime, neither chastises India for its savage butchery of the hapless Kashmiris nor does he endeavour to put an end to the ethnic cleansing of the Muslims in Indian Held Kashmir, but rather provides refuge to the killers and perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity. This is not an isolated case as thousands of innocent Kashmiris have been killed in cold blood and their killers remain at large, protected by the draconian laws like Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) and other exploitative laws, which authorize the Indian Armed Forces to shoot at sight and enter and raid the houses of Kashmiris without any warrant and arrest them without charges. US must give up its duplicity regarding human rights abuse in Kashmir and recognize the heinous crimes being committed by India and take it to task – Dailymailnews