Tufail Mattoo’s Father: An open letter to the Kashmiri people, from the father of a child brutally murdered.

Illustration: Hina Aarif

On the seventh death anniversary of Tufail Mattoo—a 17-year-old schoolboy whose skull was smashed by a teargas canister fired by Indian armed forces on June 11, 2010 (the event which became a flashpoint of the 2010 uprising)—his father Muhammad Ashraf Mattoo writes an open letter to the people of Kashmir, asking for unity.


To begin with, let me say that there seems to be no end to the darkness around us. The forces of darkness continue to perpetrate crimes—with ruthless tempo and adventurism—against all of us.

In Kashmir, we all are sailing in the same boat. Our pain and struggle are the same. I know how after killing my 17-year-old son on June 11, 2010, they are continuing the killings of innocent young boys. This killing spree is itself a proof that the ‘Valley of Martyrs’ is passing through the spiteful slaughter.

While the world around us has maintained a criminal silence, let us pledge on this very day that we won’t betray our martyrs’ sacred mission. There were/are/will be pulls and pressures. Our path is not so easy. It never was. It never will be.

And rest assured, they won’t make it easy for us. Like all of you, I know what it means to suffer in pursuit of justice.

You know, it was after a painful wait of four years, that the Commission of inquiry was established by the then puppet government in my son’s murder case. But it turned out to be on the expected lines, aiming to protect the perpetrators of the crime.

That year—2010—a clear genocide of young Kashmiris under the supervision of Omar Abdullah took place in Kashmir. Now under the different regime, the bloodbath continues. This, however, has begun devouring them.

Today, like never before, they stand defamed and defeated among the masses. We all understand how they are even making a mockery of their own institutions. For instance in my son’s case, they could have established the Commission in 2010 itself and save many innocent lives. But that sincere ‘political will’ never existed in Kashmir.

Besides being insincere, the regime of the times lied to the people on various occasions. But are we surprised?

And finally when the Commission submitted its report to the present day PDP regime, they acted as per the script and merely pushed it beneath the carpet. Was it all not an orchestrated drama by the pro-India parties? Indeed, it was.

But it’s quite interesting how they play their shoddy politics. As an opposition, PDP made a hue and cry and castigated cops for murdering my son in a broad-day light. But now in power, they behave no different than the Omar of 2010.

Like mafia, these local unionist parties are also involved in some sort of political trading with their opponents. But if they think that they will be able to buy peace with their money and mechanisation in Kashmir, they are mistaken.

They can’t achieve their peace and tranquility in the Valley, unless they deliver justice to us. Even they know it now, how their appeasement politics to keep Delhi happy—with whom they have kept their conscience mortgaged—has already backfired.

Still, they turn a blind eye to the glaring truth. In fact, they stooped so low to direct their men in Khakhi to stop relatives from taking their beloved ones to the burial ground on their own. The kill, and then use teargas shells on the family while they carry the dead bodies of their loved ones.

They even intruded into our educational institutions and harassed and intimidated students. In the process they inflicted injuries on them, thus pushing the students to the wall.

Under this mayhem, the government’s claim to take “student welfare” to the skies is not even laughable.

They have already proved their claims hollow by shutting down our educational institutions. But this doesn’t stop there only.

Every Kashmiri, who has taken a vow to stand against the collective suffering, has an F.I.R on his name. We are being deprived of our freedom of speech, of our freedom of religion, time and again. The self-proclaimed “democratic” country forces a ban our Internet, gags social media and muzzles our press.

Our people suffer from torture in their jails in complete secrecy. The people of the world should open their eyes.

Earlier, in April this year, the sham elections took place. Majority of the people stayed away from the polls. During the election, a huge force was deployed by the government. Even after outnumbering the electorates, they ended up facing a historic humiliation.

Then they ordered repolling in 38 polling booths. This time, the numbers of democracy fared even lower. With 2%, the writing on the wall is loud and clear.

Kashmiris showed complete solidarity with the martyrs and those who lost their eyesight by the brutal use of pellet guns, which should not even be used on animals, but is used on peaceful protesters in Kashmir. This befitting reply has humiliated them before the world community.

And obviously, it has started giving them sleepless nights. The shadow of the martyrs won’t allow traitors to live in peace.

But their frustration surfaced shortly when they tied a youth to the bonnet of an army jeep as a human shield. The very act rendered the slogans—Jhamooriyat, Insaaniyat aur Kashmiriyat—pitched by the Delhi circles even more hoax.

We all know, it’s they who have waged a war on us—the war they have already lost. Unlike them, we aren’t belligerent. We don’t need to be. We just want our just demand to be fulfilled.

Let us stay united. Sacrifice with sincerity and simplicity is equal to success. And be sure about it, our struggle for justice will continue as long as we breathe.

Awaiting justice,
Father of a Martyr,
Muhammad Ashraf Mattoo.


Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Free Press Kashmir.


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