Story of Kashmir— Justice Denied

By Yusra Khan

It was a last homecoming for Tufail Ahmad Mattoo. Midway, he met death in its brutal avatar. A tear smoke canister fired by a policeman hit him in the head, cracking his skull. As blood and brain oozed out from the skull cavity of this 16-year-old boy, Mattoo breath his last.

On a sultry midsummer afternoon of the year 2010, on June 11, Tufail became another name in the list of “martyrs”. For his father, Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo, his hair now greyish and face wrinkled, he was the only son.

At the house of Mattoos in Saida Kadal locality of Srinagar, Tufail’s pictures are not his only souvenirs.

Tufail's desk, a pen and a notebook are lying open. (Photo: Bisma Tenzu)

In his room, a laptop computer covered with a sheath of dust, a Sony handycam still packed in a black bag are the mementos from those days when Tufail lived. He used the camera only once before being killed, says his father.

On the desk, a pen and a notebook are lying open. A half written sentence on the cover page of physics practical notebook yet to be full-stopped.

That day when Tufail was killed, his mother, Ruby, heard from neighbours that a boy has been injured near Gojwara neighbourhood in old city. Ruby ringed her sister to check whether Tufail has returned from tuitions.

As no news came about the whereabouts of Tufail, an agonising wait begun for the family which finally ended when Tufail returned on a stretcher, carried by hundreds of mourners shouting slogans for freedom.

“The policeman who fired on Tufail stepped down from the police vehicle to see whether Tufail is dead or not.”

Tufail was dead. When his body entered the home, last time, Tufail mother fell on the ground, unconscious.

“The policeman who fired on Tufail stepped down from the police vehicle to see whether Tufail is dead or not. He took his hand near Tufail’s nose to see whether he is breathing. When he f

Tufail's father Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo. (Photo: Bisma Tenzu)

elt he is dead, he left in hurry,” an eyewitness of the killing of Tufail said.

A year later, Tufail’s mother has lived with agony, pain and tears.

“My son might have called me that time. What was his sin? Why have they killed him,” Ruby said, “I wonder how my son is resting in grave as he feared to sleep alone?”

On the day Tufail was killed, police denied to file a report. But after the huge public pressure, they lodged an FIR, number 45/2010, in Nowhatta police station.

His funeral was delayed by a day as police was not handing over the body to family fearing protests. He was buried on June 12 at Bihiste Shuhadayi Kashmir (Paradise of the Martyrs of Kashmir) – a graveyard at Eidgah in old city of Srinagar for those killed fighting Indian “occupation” of Kashmir. Eidgah.

“We do not sell our son’s blood. Government has priced us and not valued. There is no value for human life in Kashmir.”

Despite, a year having been passed no one has been put on trial for the killing Tufail. “The woman who is witness to the killing identified the killer but the government is yet to take action as he is their own person. Killers are moving freely and we are being threatened to keep quiet and not to ask for justice,” said Tufail’s father Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo.

Mourners carry body of Tufail Ahmad Mattoo for last rites. (Aman Farooq/GK)

The family was offered “blood money” of rupees five lakh by the state government led by Omar Abdullah but the family refused to accept the money. “We do not sell our son’s blood. Government has priced us and not valued. There is no value for human life in Kashmir,” he said.

Soon after the killing of Tufail, massive street protests erupted across the Kashmir valley. In an effort to cull the dissent, state forces used extreme force to silence the streets and killed 120 youth, including dozens of teenagers.

This year, state has claimed peace has returned. And thousands of families in Kashmir wait for justice.

—with Riffat Mohiudin

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  1. Some questions: why did the policeman fire the canister at the boy. If he wanted to kill the boy then he could have just shot him, why take the pains of hitting him with a can. Clearly there must have been a mob creating ruckus to disperse which the canister must have been fired. Sirf, yeh kehna ki police zimmedaar hai galat hai. Police ne firing ki, must have been a mob. Toh woh Mob bhi utna hi zimmedaar hai. Rest, this is a provocative article and does a gr8 job at provoking people by concealing relevant information.

  2. Dude,i deeply regret the death of that kid…may his soul rest in peace
    but did you for once think that why the police had to fire there was already a protest going on coz of which this happened, a mothers pain is a mothers pain what do you think happens to the solders that lay their life’s in the valley they don’t have a family…????i didn’t see you writing
    about the solder who was beheaded a few months ago….or just because they have joined the army they have no right to live….people die in protests in different parts of the country but you need a reason to create an issue out of it…if you truly mourned the death of that kid the words that you used in this post would have been different….don’t kill the right of expression and the power of media just for your own good….and what do you think the militants come out in the open and attack us…they use you as their shield and you happily do that….

  3. My condolence to the family of this young man…He could be another hope for the country. God bless Kashmir with peace & prosperity. It is a very wonderful place of beauty…Someday, may it be as peaceful as it is beautiful