Srinagar, June 11: Human rights groups today claimed New Delhi had a role in allowing ex-army officer Avtar Singh to escape the country as a free trial could have allegedly unravelled the involvement of people at the “highest level” in various murders in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS), which includes several rights groups, today pressed for an impartial probe into the “institutional support and circumstances under which he was allowed to escape the legal process” in the state.
Avtar, wanted in the murder of rights activist Jaleel Andrabi and several others in the Valley, shot three family members and himself in California on Saturday.
JKCCS co-ordinator Khurram Parvez claimed police investigations had established Avtar’s role in the enforced disappearance or killings of several persons, including Imtiyaz Ahmad Wani of Srinagar, Sikandar Ganai, Mohammad Ramzan and Mushtaq Ahmad Hajam of Sumbal, Mohammad Ahsan Lone of Pulwama, Mohammad Afzal Malik of Budgam and Balbir Singh of Mehjoor Nagar, Srinagar.
“The investigations regarding these killings/disappearances should not end with the death of (Avtar) Singh as he could not have carried out these crimes alone and fled to the US without the institutional support of the Indian State,” Parvez alleged in a statement.
Avtar first fled to Canada and then to the US after a police inquiry in Jammu and Kashmir established that he was responsible for the 1996 murder of Andrabi, a lawyer — one of the most high-profile cases of rights violation in the state.
Parvez called for an impartial investigation into the circumstances under which “he was allowed to leave the country, persons or institutions who may have supported him to escape the legal process, and persons or institutions responsible for delay in extraditing him”.
Parvez said Avtar had spoken last year of “the impossibility of him being taken to India alive as he knew too much and would not keep quiet”.