Srinagar: A day after High Court ordered fresh investigation into the killing of Tufail Mattoo, which triggered the summer agitation of 2010 in Kashmir, the family of the slain schoolboy Saturday the probe conducted by the police was shadowy “right from day one.”
“Police tried its best to conceal the truth in these four years. They wanted to shield their men who murdered my son. And I believe that top officials of the police are hand-in-glove with the killers,” Tufail’s father Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo told Kashmir Reader.
Tufail, 17, was returning home from tuition on June 11, 2010 when a teargas shell fired by the cops hit him on the head near Gani Memorial Stadium in Rajouri Kadal area of old city, killing him on the spot. The killing of the Class 12 standard student, the only child of his parents, had sparked unprecedented ‘street intifada’ on the streets of Kashmir. More than 120 protesters and bystanders were killed in police and paramilitary CRPF action in the six-month agitation.
On Friday, a single bench of Justice Virender Singh ordered fresh investigation into the teenager’s killing and rejected the closure report filed by a Special Investigation Team of police, observing that an attempt has been made to save certain police officials.
The allegation of commission of offence is against the police personnel, the court said. “It does not stand to reason that police cannot trace the alleged perpetrator of crime when he/they, is/are the members of police force only.”
The parents of Tufail, court said, have been deprived of their only son. “The police cannot be permitted to abdicate its statutory duty of identifying the culprit and bringing him to justice,” the court said.
“One important fact which the court cannot lose sight of is that death of Tufail Mattoo is due to high velocity projectile causing gross damage to the head by virtue of the total release of its extremely high kinetic energy. The effect was so destructive that it almost caused virtual decapitation and was only held by overlying scalp. The initial reaction of the police was to blame the stone throwers, but ultimately on a massive public cry they ordered probe into the matter,” the court observed.
The court asked Director General of Police to handover the investigation of the case to the Crime Branch. The court also directed that an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police only shall conduct the investigation and submit status report within eight weeks.
Expressing satisfaction over the High Court order, Mattoo said the investigations conducted by the police were shadowy “right from day one.” Police had lodged a First Information Report into Tufail’s killing on the court directions after more than a month.
“Besides it, swabs and other samples from my slain son’s body were kept at a police station for over a year. The report which has been issued by the court says clearly that police closure report is full of flaws,” Mattoo said, adding, “The time taken by them is too much. It was a simple case. Police could have resolved this matter in days or weeks, but not in years.”
He said that lives of over 120 youth could have been saved by the timely action against the killers of his son. “I have reached to the conclusion that police has wasted four precious years. They should remove the incompetent people from the department,” he said.
“The fresh probe should not come under any influence as has happened in the past,” he said. “The detailed description issued by the court says that the police have not done their job well. They have half-heartedly conducted the investigations,” he added.
After Tufail’s killing, an investigation was carried by SIT and in November 2012 it filed the final report before High Court, closing the case as untraced.