Srinagar: Exactly two years ago, Muhammad Ashraf Matoo would hide behind the main door of his house at Saida Kadal here to play ‘hide and seek’ with his lone son, Tufail Mattoo, after his return from school. This would be a daily affair until a teargas shell silenced 17-year-old Tufail, once for all, in 2010. “I would hide behind the door. Tufail would call me and try to locate me everywhere. I used to kiss him on feet and nose after locating him. We were like friends, eager to see each other,” says Ashraf, pointing towards the main door. Remembering his son on his 2nd anniversary on Monday, Ashraf says “I have a thousand things to remember about my friend, my son. He was my companion. A day before his killing, we played cricket together. I left for some work later and he himself shaved off my beard. How can I forget all this?” Two years down the line, Ashraf is awaiting justice. “I have lost faith in the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of J&K police probing the matter,” he told Greater Kashmir at his Saida Kadal residence today. “The SIT is deliberately conducting the investigation at a snail’s pace. Even after two years police has failed to identify the culprits. But I am hopeful that judiciary will do justice. It is because of constant reminders from judiciary to SIT that the case is still alive.” Questioning the ‘competence’ of the SIT, Ashraf said: “Had they been competent enough, they would have solved the case by now. But it seems they are not.” Castigating the government for approaching his relatives for withdrawing the case, Ashraf says: “The officials from government did not approach me directly. They approached my relatives to pressurize me to stop following the case. I want to tell them that such tactics won’t yield anything. I will get justice at any cost.” Blaming J&K police for killing his teenage son, Ashraf says, “People who were present at the spot told me that a policeman killed him. A woman who was present there at the time of the incident told me that a policeman came down from Gypsy and fired at him.” Ashraf urges the civil society of India, international human rights organizations, parliamentarians to make sure that he gets justice.
Autopsy of Tufail Ahmad Matoo had confirmed that he was killed by a teargas shell which damaged his brain and skull. Tufail was a student of 12th class at Government Higher Secondary School Hazratbal. He passed his matriculation from the Radiant Public School, Malla Bagh, Srinagar.