Jalil-ul-Qadr Andrabi – II

Having won prisoners’ families their right to visit loved-ones in jail, Jalil Andrabi filed yet another petition, on which the High Court directed the state government to form review committees in every district to review detainees’ cases.

The order is still in force, though with some modifications.

In 1995, Andrabi challenged the Governor’s powers of lodging Kashmiri detainees in jails outside the territorial jurisdiction of the state High Court. Jalil quoted this order in a session of the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights at Geneva in 1995. The same year, he was also invited by the US-based Kashmir American Council.

During the trip, he participated in a number conferences, seminars and debates and apprised the world community of the pros and cons of the Kashmir dispute.

According to people close to him, Andrabi came under the government’s scanner because of his activities in Geneva and America.  He was fully aware of the danger to his life.

The task of silencing him was assigned to former militants who had turned into government-sponsored-gunmen. They came to his house, but sensing trouble he did not open the door, and somehow managed to photograph the visiting killers.

Nobody believed him when he spoke of the threat to his life. Even those who knew him well asked how he could have photographed his potential assassins. He called a press conference, but nobody turned up.

Finally, he called on me in my office. I was then the associate editor of the Greater Kashmir.   Some pressmen were requested to drop in, and Andrabi addressed them, trying to convince people of the danger he was in.

He was arrested near Rawalpora while driving home on March 9, 1996, by a posse from the Territorial Army under Major Avtar Singh. The arrest evoked severe condemnation from all quarters. The Bar Association agitated it, and the local press reported it in detail.  Authorities did not disclose his whereabouts to his family. Fears grew that this was yet another enforced disappearance.