Ten years after his killing, Tufail’s family continues to mourn the loss

Srinagar, June 11

Art by @Shirien.Creates



June 11 is the tenth death anniversary of Tufail Mattoo, a 17-year-old boy from Saida Kadal locality in Old Srinagar who was killed by the Jammu and Kashmir police in 2010 when they targeted him with a teargas shell on his head. Mattoo died on the spot as the shell broke his skull.



Ten years later, Muhammad Ashraf Mattoo, Tufail’s father, has not given up the hope for justice. He continues to fight the legal battle to get the killers of his son punished. SWK spoke to him in an interview on the tenth death anniversary of his only child to know about the progress of the legal battle and his hopes for justice.


Q: What happened to your son’s case after a decade?

A: When the incident happened in 2010, the government was in denial mode. We also resisted because we wanted to know who killed our son. We refused to take the body. Our refusal to take the body forced them to go for autopsy. Since then, the fight started. I will tell you all political “mainstream” parties in Kashmir are perpetrators especially the National Conference. At the end, they did what they wanted. Omar Abdullah was the Chairman of Command and Control. He was the chief minister. He should be prosecuted. He killed 128 innocent teenagers that year. The killings were intentional and deliberate. You can check the medical reports of the deceased boys and it clearly shows that upper body parts were targeted. Omar Abdullah promised to the people on every occasion that justice will be delivered. But that is nowhere. Here, the government has open ground to kill. In ten years, I learned that the court is following the directions of the police. Police tells them what to do and what not to do. I appreciated one judge in the court, he had a little sense of humanity. A special investigating team once again closed the case, but we filed our objection in the court. The judge said that there were loopholes in the police investigation; he said the case was not investigated properly. He also said that the police were protecting the perpetrators. All these people are deaf, blind and dumb. They are all the same. After a lot of struggle, the case is still going on. We had a hearing on April 11 this year but due to the pandemic and detention of senior lawyer Mian Abdul Qayoom who is fighting the case, it could not happen. The lawyer is jailed under the Public Safety Act currently in Tihar jail, so the hearing is delayed. He fought the case for all these years so it’s difficult for anyone else to fight this time.



Q: How have you all (family) struggled with the loss all these years?

A: Tufail was our only child. Both my wife and me have rested our case with God. My wife is quiet and silent. I do talk about my son and discuss his case. I live with it every day. We both feel the pain deeply, but I talk about it and she doesn’t. We hope that God will deliver justice. No one dies unless it’s in his destiny but these killings are cold-blooded murders. These were innocent kids. The whole national conference should be prosecuted. I appeal to the world they should not allow people like Omar Abdullah to visit their countries. These ministers are not humans. Our loss cannot be explained or compensated but condemned.



Q: What do you think has changed in Kashmir from the last decade?

A: After removal of Article-370 and 35-A, the mainstream leaders are crying for it and claiming that the constitution did not allow these changes. I want to ask them, did the constitution allow them to kill innocent people? It is because of these deceivers that we lost so much till now. We are here because of them. Where are the power projects? They had been cutting small parts of Kashmir in their rule, it was being done slowly already from many years. They did not speak then. These things are dangerous for us and it is the worst situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Pandemic is natural crisis, but our political situation is worse than ever. We are not against humanity everyone has a right to live here. There is no democracy here. There is no justice here and how can they claim that democracy is operating here. It was their prime responsibility to deliver justice whether we ask for it or not. Those who did it, they are liars, they were born as liars and will die as liars.



Q: Tell me about some memories of your son? How was he as a young boy?

A: Even if I live for thousands of years, I will not be able to explain it. He was a wonderful child. He was a very caring child. He cared about his friends and everyone else. He was sober and never demanded anything. I remember once I went to his school with a packet of biscuits and he was with his friends in the sports field he called all his friends and shared the biscuits equally with them. At another instance, we got a call from school, when we went he said he fell down and hurt his foot. Later, I came to know he was beaten by a fellow student, but he did not tell us. These memories are glued to my heart and they can never go away. I would offer him money in the morning to buy snacks at the school but he would never demand and take the least amount, he would think about everyone. I cannot tell you how he was. I cannot forget a single moment spent with him. He was very sharp and intelligent and more mature than his age. He would think for everyone and he never liked to see anyone sad. He would play cricket with kids at home and they would sometimes refuse to go out in the game and he would give them more chances to play. He was calm. His friends still visit me and leave with teary eyes.



Q: What have these ten years taught you. Do you expect justice?

A: This case taught me that there are good and bad people in the society. It made me meet all kinds of lawyers and people. It made me strong. It made me see that if you have money and political influence you can do a lot of things. I lost my son. He was my lone age-old support; I saw everyone has been affected some way. Everyone here is struggling with loss. There are many families who did not pursue the cases after their kids were martyred but I did and it made me expose what happens in this journey, it made me talk about the government’s lies. I understand that those who didn’t file the case they left it to God. I was offered monetary compensation but I denied it and just wanted to punish the killers. Justice is up to God.



Q: What does your son’s death anniversary mean to you? How long will you fight the case?

A: On this day, I remember all the boys who were killed. I remember all the sons who held him on their shoulders, I remember all those blinded with pellets or killed with bullets. We feel proud of our children; they were strong. There is no price for the blood of our children. I will fight the case till I am alive. We will be successful one day. There have been so many killings but people remember my son’s name. It shook India. The name and sacrifice of my son like others will continue to live.


Stand With Kashmir (SWK) is a Kashmiri diaspora-driven independent, transnational, grassroots movement committed to standing in solidarity with the people of Indian occupied Kashmir in ending the Indian occupation of their homeland and supporting the right to self-determination of the pre-partition state of Jammu and Kashmir. We want to hear from you. If you have general inquiries, suggestions, or concerns, please email us at info@standwithkashmir.org. 

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