India Insight

Kashmir seeks extradition of accused army soldier

A former Indian soldier, accused of killing a Kashmiri human rights lawyer, has been arrested in the United States on charges of domestic violence.

Major Avtar Singh fled the country in the 1990s after he was accused of kidnapping and brutally killing Jaleel Andrabi, a Kashmiri lawyer and human rights activist.

Andrabi’s decomposed body was found 15 years ago in a river. The killing sparked off massive protests and led to a probe by authorities.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir is now seeking the extradition of Singh from the United States.

A Times of India report said a special investigating team found Singh could have been involved in six more extrajudicial killings in Kashmir.

Put Kashmiris first, says Crisis Group

Any dialogue between India and Pakistan aimed at a solution to the decades-old Kashmir problem will fail if the two rivals do not first include people living on both sides of Line of Control (LoC) that divides the region, the International Crisis Group says.

A policeman stands guard after a grenade blast in Srinagar October, 6 2009. REUTERS/Danish Ismail/FilesNew Delhi and Islamabad appeared willing to allow more interaction across the LoC but failed to engage Kashmiris in the process, the Crisis Group said in a report titled, “Steps Towards Peace: Putting Kashmiris First.”

The latest briefing from the Crisis Group identifies the key political, social and economic needs of Kashmiris that should be addressed on both sides of the divided state.

Will Kashmir tensions hurt fresh India-Pakistan peace efforts?

Killing of civilians, six in the past month blamed on government forces, has triggered massive protest demonstrations since last week in Kashmir, the region at the heart of enmity between India and Pakistan.

Police stand guard at a barricade set up to stop a protest march in Srinagar February 8, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliAnd the anger has evolved into wider anti-India protests, nearly similar to huge street protests seen in 2008 that embarrassed New Delhi. After a period of relative calm, rebel violence has increased.

The fresh trouble in the Himalayan region comes at a time when India and Pakistan, who claim the region in full but rule in parts and have fought wars over it,  have decided to improve strained relations.

Frequent strikes a crippling blow to Kashmir’s economy

During two decades of anti-India revolt, Kashmir has lost tens of thousands of people, property worth billions of dollars and much more.

But the disputed Himalayan Valley has also lost over 1,500 working days (more than four years) to separatists’ shutdown calls in the past 20 years, dealing a crippling blow to its ailing economy.

The tourism industry of the scenic Valley, ringed by Himalayan peaks and dotted with mirror-calm lakes, shimmering streams and dense pine and conifer forests, is frequently disrupted by strikes and violent protests over the separatist cause.

  •