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Indian Army officer wanted for Kashmir murder shoots family in Fresno

A former Indian Army officer wanted in the killing of a human rights lawyer in the disputed Kashmir region has shot his wife and two kids in their Fresno home before committing suicide.

kashmir 6 10 2012Enlarge
Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers stand guard in Srinagar on May 30 ,2012. (Tauseef MUSTAFA /AFP/Getty Images)

A former Indian Army officer wanted in the gruesome killing of a human rights lawyer in the disputed Kashmir region has shot his wife and two of their children to death in their Fresno County home Saturday before apparently committing suicide.

Avtar Singh, 47 — wanted over the 1996 kidnapping and murder of Jalil Andrabi — called 911 from the family’s Selma home just after 6 a.m. Saturday to say he had just killed four people and was about to kill himself, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office told the LA Times.

Police evacuated the entire neighborhood and sent in a SWAT team, but upon entering the home found Singh dead in the living room and a woman and child — believed to be his wife and 3-year-old son — lying dead with gunshot wounds to the head. A boy, 15, also believed to be their son, was found dead in another bedroom.

A 17-year-old boy described as "barely alive" owing to a severe head trauma was taken to the hospital, the Associated Press cited Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Curtice as saying.

The Fresno Bee reported that India sought Singh’s extradition from California last year after Selma police were called to his home for a domestic violence incident.

It remained unclear why he was allowed to remain free, several media reported. 

However, Andrabi's brother and lawyer blamed New Delhi, telling the AP that Singh's family would still be alive if the government had fought harder to bring him to justice.

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"These lives could have been saved if a trial of Maj. Avtar Singh was conducted on time," Andrabi's brother, Arshad, reportedly said.

"We have lost that chance now. He was a known murderer and we are appalled that he was even shielded in the United States. It's a failure of justice at all levels."

Singh, who reportedly owned a trucking company in the US, fled India after being accused over the killing of Andrabi during an anti-India uprising in Indian-controlled Kashmiri capital of Srinagar in March 1996.

Andrabi’s body was found on the banks of a local river with the eyes gouged out.

India sought Singh’s extradition from California last year after Selma police were called to his home for a domestic violence incident; his wife claimed he had choked her.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120610/indian-army-human-rights-kashmir-murder-suicide-eye-gouging