On World Mother’s Day, sitting in a desolated room of her two-storey house in Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, mother of Tufail Matoo, 17-year-old teenager killed on 11 June 2010, narrates her life without her son.
Calling it a darkest day of her life, she says, “Those scenes still come before my eyes when Tufail was a kid and I used to feed him with spoon in the garden. He always had new ways to protest against eating meals but I kept on narrating him the tales of fairies for hours so that he would not remain hungry.” Amid tearful eyes, she asks, “Wouldn’t he be hungry in the grave where he is sleeping now?”
She says that the pain she has to bear every day cannot be explained in words. “If he would have died a natural death, it would not have been as painful as it is now. I kept on thinking what if he wouldn’t have gone for the tuitions that day. Nothing really can soothe my blighted heart now as I am aware that this pain will remain with me even after I die and till the doomsday,” she says, adding that if the people involved in Tufail’s killing would have been punished, the pain and grief could have reduced.
Stating that she is not the only one who has lost her son in Kashmir, she says that the day her husband returns from the court after attending Tufail’s case, she eagerly hopes that justice has arrived. “Four years have passed and nothing really has happened.”
“We want someone to stand for us so that justice is delivered. We want someone to speak for us and help us in holding the persons accountable who took our sons away. If justice would have been given to me, I could have understood that there is someone who cares for the people who have lost everything,” she says, as her husband Mohammad Ashraf Matoo continues to calm her.
Tufail, their only son, was killed by the Indian forces in Srinagar, after they fired a tear gas canister at him. His death led to widespread protests and triggered a summer of unrest in which more than 100 people were killed.