This Article is From Jun 12, 2011

One year on, Tufail Mattoo's family still awaits justice

Srinagar: Seventeen-year-old Taufail Mattoo was killed by security forces in the Valley on June 11 last year, allegedly after they fired a tear gas canister at him.

Tufail's death led to widespread protests and triggered a summer of unrest in which more than 100 people were killed.

One year on, Tufail's family still awaits justice.

''Come what may, as long as we are alive, we will fight for justice,' said Mohammad Ashraf, Tufail Mattoo's father.

Mohammad Ashraf's hopes were, however, dashed when he heard the claims made by the police in the Court hearing Tufail Mattoo's case. The police told the court that no cop deployed in the area was armed with the kind of tear gas shells that is said to have killed Taufail.

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''I was terribly shocked when I heard this. It has taken one long year and they have not completed inquiry. They should have revealed this long back, that very moment. This is what they are saying now after it has consumed 117 lives,' Mohammad Ashraf said.

The post mortem report says a rifled weapon killed the school boy but an eyewitness claims it was a cop who fired teargas shells that killed Taufail. Security forces, however, maintain their stand and say that the eyewitness has not been able to identify that officer.

''I will not say that it happened with the tear gas shell, I will not say it did not happen with the teargas shell. These are matters of investigation. We are trying our best to investigate the matter to find out who the culprit was. But one thing I would like to make clear is that it was not intended on the part of police,'' clarifies S. M. Sahai, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir.

Killing of Tufail Matoo had become a reference point for last year's civilian unrest in Kashmir and some justice in this case was the least government could have done to start a process of healing. Whether justice will continue to elude the battered Matoo family, still waits to be seen.