American Turban

2012 murder-suicide in Selma, CA, has origin in Kashmir human rights crimes

Artwork by Khushboo Gulati for Ensaaf's 'Decade of Disappearances' Art Contest (source: Ensaaf Facebook page)

Artwork by Khushboo Gulati for Ensaaf’s ‘Decade of Disappearances’ Art Contest (source: Ensaaf Facebook page)

An article in Guernica by Shubh Mathur tells the story behind last year’s murder-suicide in Selma, California, of Avtar Singh, who murdered his wife and three sons before turning his weapon on himself. Prior to his murderous act, Avtar Singh was being confronted about his dubious past as a major in the Indian army:

The story of his crimes and the manner in which he evaded justice for sixteen years is a grim chronicle of Indian crimes against humanity in Kashmir and of the silence of the international community which has abetted these.

From India’s Kashmir, to Canada, to Selma, California, the twists and turns of Avtar Singh’s international evasion from justice is a reflection of the impunity given to officers of the Indian state in committing grievous human rights abuses in Kashmir, Punjab, and other areas of India during 1980s, 1990s and beyond. It is a legacy that Sikhs around the world are still struggling with today.

Ensaaf, an organization dedicated to bringing justice for such state-sponsored crimes, recently held an art contest to bring more awareness to this issue. The winning artwork was unveiled in December, and the finalist art pieces have now also been presented on the Ensaaf Facebook page, which you can view here.

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3 comments

  1. jasdeep

    “officers of the Indian state in committing grievous human rights abuses in Kashmir, Punjab, and other areas of India during 1980s, 1990s and beyond. It is a legacy that Sikhs around the world are still struggling with today.”
    Interestingly both in Punjab and Kashmir, it were the loyal Sikh soldiers or police who were on the forefront of Indian state sponsored killings and human rights abuses. Avtar was just a tiny rivet in indian military machine!
    Not sure who is victim or perpetrator..

    • You are quite right in your statement. It was often Sikh officers or officials who carried out these abuses at the behest of the state. This is why we cannot look at state-sponsored human rights abuses in India simply on religious lines — it is more about the behavior of the ruling class against its own people.

  2. HS Vachoa

    I am surprised that this individual had been living in the US-especially in Fresno,CA- and no Sikh organization, including ENSAAF came up with any report on this mass-murdering man of the Indian Military.

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