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Former Indian Army officer accused of Kashmir crimes kills self, family in US

The Indian government sought Avtar Singh's extradition from the US last year for the killing of a human rights lawyer, but he remained free for unknown reasons.

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Several days later, India requested that the United States arrest and extradite Singh. It wasn't clear on Saturday why Singh had remained free since the request. A request for comment from the Consulate General of India in San Francisco on Saturday was not immediately returned.

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Dyck didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Saturday about the 2011 arrest, and Selma police referred questions about the apparent murder-suicide to Fresno County sheriff's officials.

Selma police last had contact with Singh about two months ago when he called to complain that reporters wouldn't leave him alone because of the murder warrant, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told the Fresno Bee.

Jalil Andrabi was killed at the height of protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where nearly a dozen rebel groups have fought security forces for independence or merger with Pakistan since 1989. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilian, have been killed in the uprising and subsequent Indian crackdown.

Andrabi disappeared in March 1996 in Kashmir's main city, Srinagar. His body was recovered 19 days later in a local river. He had been shot in the head and his eyes were gouged out.

A police investigation said Andrabi had been picked up from his home by Indian troops and killed in their custody. The probe blamed Singh and his soldiers for that killing and also accused Singh of involvement in the killings of six other Kashmiri men.

Singh had been charged in Kashmir only with Andrabi's killing. Kashmir police had sought permission from the government of India for Singh's prosecution in the six other killings. Under India's armed forces special powers act, federal permission has to be obtained before police can prosecute any army or paramilitary soldier posted in Kashmir.

No soldier has been punished for Andrabi's killing, human rights lawyers say.

Singh fled India after he was accused of killing Andrabi. Hafizullah Mir, a human rights lawyer, said he was tracked to California in 2009 with the help of the Canadian Center for International Justice, a human rights advocacy group, but that New Delhi did not pursue extradition until after his 2011 arrest.

In Selma, Singh owned and operated Jay Truck Lines. Alli Adan, a driver for the company, said he had seen Singh the night before the killings, and that had appeared to be acting normally.

"He was a nice guy," Adan told the Fresno Bee. "I couldn't believe it because I didn't think he could do something like this."

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