Andrabi’s ‘killer’ cites Al-Qaeda threat in Valley
Srinagar, Feb 28: At a time when Jammu and Kashmir Police is denying presence of Al-Qaeda in the state, the army official Major Avtar Singh, wanted in the kidnapping and killing of prominent human rights activist Jaleel Andrabi, has cited the presence of the group in the Valley.
Singh, who was arrested on Feb 21 in California US in a domestic violence case and later released on bail, is wanted in five murder cases including Jaleel’s case here.
Reportedly Singh was asked in California about his involvement in Jaleel’s murder case. However, Singh refuted the police claim and said his batallion was nowhere near the place where Andrabi was kidnapped.
He told an American news agency: “Because of the allegations, I am afraid I am a wanted man -- not by the Indian government, but by Al-Qaeda. If I'm exposed on this, the Islamic militants, they're already looking for me.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director General of Police, Armed/Law and Order, K Rajendra Kumar said, “Al-Qaeda is an umbrella outfit. However, there is no evidence of presence of Al-Qaeda in the state.”
It may be recalled that state government last year also grounded the rumours of presence of Al-Qaeda in the Valley.
“Rumours of Al-Qaeda presence in the State are totally baseless and fabricated,” Director General of Police (DGP), Kuldeep Khoda had said.
Police, he said, has not come across any clue that indicates the presence of Al-Qaeda in Jammu and Kashmir. “The presence of Al-Qaeda in Jammu and Kashmir is a rumour,” Khoda said.
According to official documents Major Avtar is wanted in five murder case registered in different police stations of the city.
The FIR in the Jaleel Andrabi custodial killing case in 1996 is pending in the court of CJM for the past more than nine years.
Interpol has recommended provisional arrest and extradition request for Avtar be forwarded to its Washington office and US Department of Justice. Following which a local court here had directed Inspector General of Police, Crime, to forward requisite documents.
The delay in the disposal of the case is mainly due to non-arrest of Major Avtar.
Jaleel’s counsel Mir Hafizullah said the abnormal delay coupled with inherent defects in the investigation suggest that the Government of India was neither sincere nor interested to pursue the case. He said government was never interested in Singh’s extradition. “If India would have been sincere, they would have got Avtar Singh extradited years ago,” he said.
Disappeared on March 8, 1996, Jaleel’s body was found 19 days later. In April, 1997, the Special Investigation Team presented its initial findings to the High Court. The SIT said that Major Avtar Singh from the 103rd Unit of the Territorial Army and other soldiers were responsible for the abduction and killing of Jaleel. The SIT was unable to arrest Major Avtar Singh as they could not find him.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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