Tufail Matoo case lingers on; Struggle-hardened father decries endless delay

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Srinagar: The case involving the killing of a killed Srinagar schoolboy Tufail Matoo has once again been delayed.

Mohammad Ashraf Matoo, the father of Tufail Matoo, the teenager whose dead face became the face of 2010 peoples’ uprising, is continuing the fight for ‘justice.’

Matoo and his lawyer were present in the court in the last hearing lately to continue with their objection registered with the Judge of Small Causes in November 2017 against the crime branch report. However, the representative of the government, the Chief Prosecution Office Riyaz Ahmed, according to Matoo, was not present in any of the hearings.

On June 11, 2010, Tufail was coming back from classes when he was hit by a shell on his head leading to his immediate death. Since then, Ashraf has been going to courts seeking justice for his ‘martyred’ son.

Presided over by Judge O.P Thakur, the hearing started at 2:30 PM and it seemed that the CPO would not present himself again. Hence, to proceed with the case, the Judge asked Mohammad Ashraf, the prosecutor to present his arguments.

Amidst of the prosecutor’s arguments, CPO enters the courtroom a little before 3PM.

“This is the first time any government representative has come forward since the case started in November,” informs Ashraf.

The main argument since then centered around the linguistic dilemma of what is the difference between “fresh” investigation and “further” investigation.

The Chief Prosecution Officer maintained that since High Court has not given any clear order to not refer the findings of previous investigation, the crime branch has referred the same. However, the High Court should give a proper order to bar the findings of previous investigations.

On the other side, the prosecution argued that evidences have been destroyed by the police and all are trying to protect each other in the state institutions. He likened Tufail’s case with Kathua rape case where evidences have been destroyed in a similar way.

The family, apart from having to deal with the loss of Tufail, has to also deal with the constant paperwork and disappointing findings. “All are in this together. The Crime Branch, the police, the government all are helping each other and protecting each other,” comments the disturbed father.

“We still have the five rupees coin that Tufail was clutching to while he was hit. The locals found it and gave it to us. It is still preserved. I will fight till the end to bring the perpetrators to justice,” says Matoo before leaving for home.

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