Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lethargy of MEA leads to gruesome killing of wife and children

Ex-army officer kills wife, 2 children; commits suicide in US
Naseer Ganai | Mail Today | Srinagar, June 10, 2012 | UPDATED 18:39 IST

Major (retired) Avtar Singh, who killed his two children and wife before killing himself in US on Sunday, was wanted in a Kashmir court in the custodial killing case of Jaleel Andrabi, a human rights activist.
The mass murder and suicide by the retired Army major has shocked Andrabi family here. "It is shocking that he killed his family. Had he been extradited and brought for the trial, the situation could have different today. The responsibility of this incident lies with the government of India and the US government, which delayed his extradition," said advocate Arshid Andrabi, Jaleel Andrabi's brother.
Singh was accused of kidnapping and later killing Andrabi, a prominent Kashmiri human rights lawyer and human rights activist, in 1996. Major Singh, who was then with the 35th Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Army, had allegedly detained Andrabi on March 8, 1996.
After his detention, Andrabi's wife was repeatedly told 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. His autopsy showed that he had been killed days after his arrest.
The killing evoked widespread condemnation across the Valley. Human rights activists, political parties and the Kashmir Bar Association demanded the arrest of Major Singh.
Arshid, Andrabi's brother, took the matter before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which, in April 1997, ordered the Kashmir Police to apprehend Major Singh and impound his passport.
The court also directed that his photographs should be displayed on electronic media.
"In 2000, a police team headed by a superintendent of police went to Karnal in Haryana, where Major Singh was posted in a regiment of the Territorial Army. Despite being armed with high court's orders, the police team failed to arrest him. He was wanted in five other cases of custodial killings and still the J&K police let him off," said Arshid.
In December 26, 2000, the police filed a chargesheet in the case without producing the accused. "It is unheard in the history of criminal law that a chargesheet is filed without producing the accused," said Arshid.
Subsequently, when the matter was again brought before the High Court, it directed the trial court to ensure the presence of the accused. Since then the trial court of chief judicial magistrate Srinagar issued several warrants against the accused major, but to no avail.
"At the same time the Union government facilitated Major Singh to obtain travel documents like passport and allowed him to cross immigration in blatant violation of the court orders," Arshid alleged.
In December 2009, United States Interpol-National Central Bureau, Washington, while confirming the presence of the accused in California, had sought "formal request for his provisional arrest and extradition."
A red-corner notice through Interpol stands issued against him.
"But the ministry of external affairs used delayed tactics and did not send a formal request to the US government," claimed Arshid.
He said the case is not closed. "In the police chargesheet there are five other accused along with Major Singh. We will move revision application before the court to make them party in the case," he said.
Earlier application to make them accused in the case was dismissed by the CJM.
Major Singh's first wife was from Kashmir and belonged to Jawaharnagar area of Srinagar. According to reports, she still lives in New Delhi.
In February 2011, Singh was reportedly arrested by the California police on charges of domestic violence including throwing a toy on his wife. After his arrest, police discovered Singh was wanted by Interpol. Yet, he was released.
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Ex-army officer kills wife, 2 children; commits suicide in US
Comment: Speaks poorly of Indian legal system and the Indian Military. The MEA is headed by a band of tainted ministers and bureaucrats.. one cannot expect more... regret the loss of lives.

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