Wanted Major Kills Family & Himself

Wanted Major Kills Family & Himself

10 June 2012
The Telegraph (Kolkata)


Srinagar: A former Indian Army major wanted in Kashmir for the murder of a lawyer shot himself at his home yesterday after wiping out nearly his entire family, officials said in California where the officer had gone into hiding. The shootings came about a year after Major Avtar Singh’s wife blew his cover by filing a complaint of domestic violence. It had led to his arrest in February 2011 on the charge of beating his wife, whose complaint mentioned that Singh had been accused of Jaleel Andrabi’s murder and was wanted by Kashmir police. Singh was later given bail. Officials in Selma, California, said Singh was found dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to his head. A woman, believed to be his wife, and a three-year-old boy were found dead in the master bedroom, also with gunshot wounds to their heads. The body of a 15-year-old boy was found in another bedroom. He, too, had been shot in the head. Another boy, a 17-year-old, was found with severe head trauma and rushed to hospital. Singh, 47, had called police in Selma around 6.15 on Saturday morning and told them he had killed members of his family and was going to kill himself, frenscobee.com quoted the Fresno county sheriff’s office as saying. Singh had fled to America after he was accused of killing Andrabi, a rights lawyer associated with the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. The officer headed the 103 unit of the Territorial Army in 1996 when he allegedly abducted Andrabi. The lawyer’s body was found floating in the Jhelum days later. A police inquiry in Kashmir established that Singh was responsible for the lawyer’s murder. The state government had since been seeking Singh’s extradition. His name figured on the Interpol website as a fugitive wanted by the chief magistrate of Srinagar, but New Delhi was yet to formally press for his extradition. In 2009, however, the CBI issued an Interpol red corner notice against the officer. In Srinagar, Andrabi’s brother Arshad said if Delhi had pressed for extradition, Singh would have been arrested in the US. “That would have saved the lives of his family…. We were seeking punishment for him but never for his family.” He said the family will continue to fight for justice. “We believe the orders to murder my brother were issued by the unified high command here and even he (Singh) claimed in an interview last year that he was made a scapegoat. The question is who issued the orders,” Arshad said.