A Murder most foul

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The events that unfurled after the killing of teenager Tufail Mattoo put the entire Kashmir Valley on boil in 2010. After persistent denials, a vigilant judiciary took up the case and asked the police to find the killers. Three years later, the case has been closed and the killers declared as ‘untraced’. Syed Asma looks at the days that led to a historic moment in Kashmir’s history.

Tufail Matoo

June 11, 2010: Tufail Ahmed Mattoo, 17, son of Mohammed Ashraf Mattoo, a student of Class 12 is killed after a teargas shell hit his head near Gani Memorial stadium, Rajouri Kadal, Srinagar at about 1700 hours (5 pm).

June 16, 2010: Manzoor Ahmed Mattoo, his uncle, lodges a report in police station (P/S) Nowhatta for investigating Tufail’s killing.

June 18, 2010: The deceased’s family files an application in Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, to direct the concerned SHO to entertain their report and proceed with the case.

June 19, 2010: CJM forwards family’s complaint to SSP Srinagar, directs him to investigate the case and submit report within 10 days. Tufail’s post-mortem is conducted in PCR which finds that he died due to High Velocity Projectile fire arm injury.

June 21, 2010: SSP Srinagar submits his report, directs P/S MR Gunj to file an FIR.

July 15, 2010: Police registers a case under FIR 45/2010 at P/S Nowhatta after receiving a docket from P/S MR Gunj. The docket says on June 11, 2010, an unidentified body was found in Rajouri Kadal after clashes between Police/CRPF and mob concluded. The body was later identified in Police Control Room (PCR) as Tufail Mattoo. SHO, SI Mohammed Jamal, take up the investigation.

August 28, 2010: Tufail’s family files application before CJM for directing the police to submit its report.

December 24, 2010: CJM directs SSP to constitute a SIT to investigate into Tufail’s killing.

January 4, 2011: A SIT headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police is constituted on the direction of Chief Judicial Magistrate in the trial court, Srinagar.

January 28, February 21, March 8, 2011 and many months pass by, but no result came out. Mian Abdul Qayoom, the petitioner, dissatisfied with its work, appealed J&K High Court for constituting a new SIT.

March 05, 2011: Identification parade is conducted in presence of Tehsildar, South Srinagar and Executive Magistrate Class I in the accordance with police rule 657 of J&K Police Manual at P/S Khanyar. Atiqa, an eye witness, is asked to identify. She identifies Javaid Ahmed 1398/S as the culprit but the police say he was at District Police Lines (DPL) on June 11.

March 26, 2011: Another identification parade is conducted in P/S Rainawari in presence of , South Srinagar and Executive Magistrate Class I.

September 26, 2011: The State High Court takes up the matter and asks DGP to constitute a new SIT headed by a police officer not below the rank of SP. Tahir Saleem Khan, I/C SP North Srinagar is asked to head the SIT and file its report within three weeks.

October 10, 2011: High Ccourt decides on the next hearing date and grants one week’s time to SIT.

November 14, 2011: SIT submits its status report; the court observes that the direction regarding the process of investigation was not complied with by the state. It directs the SIT to examine and record the statement of doctors of SMHS hospital who attended and examined the Tufail.

November 18, 2011: A letter was submitted to Medical Superintendent SMHS for providing the list of the doctors who conducted Tufail’s post-mortem.

November 28, 2011: SIT submits its status report in court. HC lists case after two weeks.

December 16, 2011: The High Court directs the head of the SIT to be present in the next hearing along with his case diaries to enable court to have proper view of the matter and issue further directions if required.

December 23, 2011: The court directs SIT to reach a conclusion within one month. It also directs the SIT head to be present in the court in person in the next hearing in February, 2012.

January 28, 2012: Sealed swabs of the wound of Tufail are seized from P/S MR Gunj by SIT.

February 3, 2012: The High Court asks SIT to complete the investigation within two months, besides directing it to file the status report of the probe in four weeks.

February 13, 2012: The swabs are sent to Director, FSL Srinagar. The Director advises to send swabs to Baba Atomic Research Centre, Trombay for opinion because such facility is not available at Srinagar.

The swabs are returned by Baba Atomic research Centre Trombay stating that an opinion can be taken from FSL Maharashtra Kalina Centre Cruze where such experts are available.

The swabs are again returned from FSL Maharashtra stating that facility of studying such swabs is available at CFSL, Chandigarh.

The swabs are sent for cross examining the post-mortem report and to find out any gun-shot residue on Tufail’s wound.

March 07, 2012: Hearing was scheduled but the entire court work was suspended.

April 23, 2012: SIT files its status report. They have recorded statements of nine witnesses but have not yet received the police report from FSL Chandigarh. The court adjourns the case for 4 weeks.

May 23, 2012: HC directs CFSL to take-up the matter out-of-turn and ensure to submit the report at the earliest and the SP is directed to depute a person to Chandigarh to collect the report.

June 09, 2012: CFSL Chandigarh filed its final report to SIT. It says that environment particle containing Iron (Fe), indicative particle containing Titanium (Ti) and Zinc (Zn) and no “unique GSR” particle was detected, the SIT report says.

June 15, 2012: CFSL report was submitted in the court. Court grants two months time to SIT to complete its investigation, local press reported.

August 17, 2012: SIT receives fax from FSL Chandigarh stating that some officer may be deputed to FSL Chandigarh for collecting opinion and other allied material sent to the laboratory, the status report filed by IO Khan verified on August 22, 2012, says.

August 20, 2012: A police sub-inspector leaves to Chandigarh to collect the report and was expected back soon to submit the report, the status report submitted by IO says. The report was verified on August 22, 2012.

August, 2012: SIT receives CFSL report which reveals Unique GSR particles containing lead, Barium and Antimony are found in Tufail’s swabs. Besides, indicative particles containing Titanium, Zinc, Antimony and environmental particles containing Iron, Antimony, Copper, Zinc and Nickle are also found, says the status report filed by IO Khan in High Court. The report was verified on September 21, 2012.

August 23, 2012: Superintendent of Police, North, along with Deputy Superintendent of Police, Headquarter, are present in person in the court. Keeping in view the status report filed on August 22, 2012, and in the interest of justice, time period of four weeks is allowed, the court order says.

CONTRADICTIONS

The SIT in its closure report quotes a CFSL’s report that they say they received on June 09, 2012 but in one of their status reports filed in High Court and verified on August 22,2012, they sent their man to Chandigarh on August 17 who will get the report soon.

According to the SIT report, the CFSL Chandigarh says there are indicative elements in Tufail’s swabs besides ‘No Gun Shot Residue (GSR)’ was found in it. But the status report filed by Investigation Officer (IO) Tahir Saleem Khan, verified on September 21, 2012 says that apart from indicative particles, unique GSR particles containing lead, barium and antimony were found in Tufail’s wound.

August 28, 2012: SIT obtains an opinion about the weapon which reveals that gun is in working condition and “the test fire reveals indicative material like Titanium and Zinc, antimony and lead and environmental particles like iron and antimony, copper, zinc, nickel and lead. The fire of anti-riot gun leaves unique GSR particle, like Barium and Antimony, on the target when fired on the experimental target i.e., it leaves Gun Shot residues like lead, Barium and Antimony on the wound if fired on body parts. Moreover, the opinion reveals that anti-riot gun can also be lethal if fired on vital parts of the body from close range,” the SIT report reads.

September 20, 2012: Zonal Police office city, North, writes to the General Manager, Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur MP. SIT requests them to answer ‘whether .303 anti-riot gun used at a point blank cartridge without rubber pellet is a lethal or non-lethal weapon.’ and asks for other details of .303 anti riot gun.

September 26, 2012: High Court finds the respondents [Police] have not taken steps to complete the investigation. Petitioner [victim’s family] sought further time of three weeks. Time is granted for doing the needful. October 20, 2012 is the next hearing date.

October 19, 2012: I/C SIT submit status of his report in the court. He expressed his ability to conclude investigation, in absence of report from General Manager, Central Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur.

November 12, 2012: Court, citing the report from Central Gun Cartridge Factory, Jalabpur, purposely less important, directs SIT to complete the probe and file the report by November 30. It pulls up the investigating agency for not acting apace to conclude the probe.

November 17, 2012: PSI Khursheed Ahmed of P/S Rainawari was deputed to Jabalpur to collect the report from Gun Cartridge Factory Jabalpur.

November 24, 2012: The reply of the letter was received from Jabalpur. It stated anti-riot gun is a non-lethal gun. The use of .303 empty cartridges has also been classified as non-lethal.

November 30, 2012: SIT submitted its final report and stated that it was not able to find any conclusive evidence till now and the investigation of case has been closed as untraced. However, secret search will continue and if anything comes to fore, the investigation of the case shall be re-opened at that time.

December 12, 2012: The area was under curfew. The judge delays the case for 4 weeks.

February 27, 2013: The Special Mobile Magistrate, Srinagar accepted the closure report filed by the SIT constituted by the High Court and closed the case in trial court.

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About Author

Syed Asma completed her masters in journalism from the Islamic University, Awantipore, in 2010. After working with Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Times, she joined Kashmir Life in February 2011. She covered politics, society, gender issues and the environment. In 2016, she left journalism to pursue her M Phil from the University of Kashmir. She is presently pursuing PhD.

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