Prominent Kashmiri leader Ghulam Nabi Fai has voiced his outrage that even 25 years after the brutal killing by an Indian army major of Jalil Andrabi, a leading Kashmiri lawyer and human rights activist, those who plotted the murder were still at large, saying it was “the darkest chapter of India’s judicial partiality.”
At a memorial to honor Andrabi, who was also Chairman of the Kashmir Commission of Jurists, Dr. Fai, Secretary-General of the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, said that Major Avtar Singh, the main culprit, obviously acted on the orders from higher-ups amid the long-standing climate of impunity that the Indian army enjoys in Kashmir.
He said Major Avtar Singh was not arrested for committing the 1996 crime; In fact, the government of India arranged a passport despite the court order for his arrest, and facilitated his exit from India to Canada and then to United States to save him from any legal proceedings.
Andrabi had been painstakingly documenting the human rights violations across Jammu and Kashmir by gathering information from victim’s families and witnesses.
In March of 1996, Dr. Fai said, as Andrabi was returning to Srinagar from Delhi with his wife, his car was stopped and he was taken into custody. Twenty days later on March 27, 1996, his body was seen floating in the Jhelum River, with his hands tied behind him. He had been shot, and his eyes gouged.
In 2012, fugitive Major Avtar Singh, facing deportation from the United States, killed his family members before turning the gun on himself at his home in Selma, California.
Avtar Singh was arrested by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations department for unlawful presence in the United States in July 2007, and subsequently placed in the removal proceedings.
The Selma police department received a call from Major Singh, who said that he had just murdered four persons and was about to kill himself. He then disconnected the line.
In his remarks, Dr. Fai said Andrabi’s murder was widely condemned across the world, with important political figures calling for an independent investigation, but even after 25 years, justice has not been served.
” Justice is awaited,” he said, addressing world leaders.