Kashmir’s Martyr of Justice


Umar Sultan

Srinagar: From the childhood, ‘Nana’ would be urged by his mother, Syeda Kulsum not to bow in the face of oppression. The introvert child, on his part, grasped these lessons of boldness well, but it eventually cost him his life.

At the age of 42, when Nana was killed for being bold, his courageous mother proved up to the word she would teach to her son. Nana of valiant Kulsum, an education officer in state education department, was to become Kashmir’s Martyr of Justice (Shaheed-e-Insaaf), Advocate Syed Jaleel �ul-Qadar Andrabi.

Jaleel, a renowned Human Rights activist was killed in custody of forces after being kidnapped on 8th March in 1996. His body was found nineteen days later.

“She (kulsum) didn’t allow any one to weep when Jaleel Sahib’s body was brought home,” recalls Advocate Arshid Andrabi, Jaleel’s Brother.

“She showed exemplary spirit on the day and told every body not to weep, as it is un-Islamic,” says Arshid, talking to Press Bureau of India. “Even women could not weep because our mother prohibited,” he adds.

Justice, ironically, eluded the mother of Shaheed-e-Insaaf till her death in 2005, as his killers remain at large.

Jaleel’s chamber at Taj Building in Awqaf Market Srinagar is locked since his murder. The solitary room in the 3rd floor personifies how victims in Kashmir are left alone to fight for justice.

“Jaleel sahib was killed because he had forcefully raised issue of Human Rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir at international forums,” says Arshad.

In august, 1995, Jaleel was invited to Geneva to participate in United Nations Sub Committee on Human Rights.

“He informed the forum about the grim Human Rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” says Arshad.

After Geneva, he was invited to participate in several conferences in United States.

When Jaleel was abducted, he was again preparing to leave for the US to participate in conference on Kashmir.

“It was Friday, 8th March, when he had gone to fetch air ticket to the US and even carried passport in his pocket when a group of troopers abducted him,” adds Arshad.

On Saturday, 9th March, a day after Jaleel’s abduction, Bar Association Kashmir filed a writ petition in High Court seeking whereabouts of Jaleel from security agencies.

The court while admitting the petition, directed all security agencies operating in Kashmir to file affidavit regarding Jaleel’s whereabouts on Monday, March 11th 1996.

“Pertinently, all the security agencies in their affidavit had denied any information about Jaleel and informed the Court that he was not in their custody,” says Arshad.

On March 27th, Jaleel’s body was found floating in Jehlum near Kursoo, Rajbagh in Srinagar.

“The post mortem report revealed that he had been killed some days after he was picked up,” says Arshad.

The extra-judicial killing of Jaleel Andrabi evoked international criticism eliciting strong statements from many countries and Human Right organizations, including Amnesty International.

Subsequently, under international pressure the state government constituted Special Investigation Team to investigate into the killing.

The SIT found that Majar Avatar Singh, also known as “Bulbul”(nightingale), posted with the 103rd Unit of the Territorial Army at Rawalpora Camp and other soldiers were responsible for the abduction and killing of Jaleel.

Fourteen years down the line, An FIR NO139/96 at Police Station Saddar under sections 302, 365, 364, 201 RPC against Major Avatar is pending disposal before the court of CJM Srinagar and red-corner notice through Interpol stands issued against him.

The relatives of the slain activist believe that Government of India facilitated Major Avatar’s migration to Canada by issuing him a fake passport.

The Major is now confirmed to be in California, USA. In December 2009, United States Interpol – National Central Bureau (US-NCB), Washington while confirming the presence of the accused officer in California had sought “formal request for his arrest and subsequent extradition”.

Meanwhile, the case is listed on April 2 for hearing at CJM Srinagar.

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