It has been five years now that J&K government has been unable to tell the society who killed tenth grader Tufail Mattoo, whose murder triggered 2010 unrest. Police with paramilitary forces killed more than 120 people, mostly young men, paralyzing a society for nearly half of the year in wake of this killing.
Build up to the 2010 crisis started soon after soldiers used their touts to lure a group of boys to LoC, where they killed them, dubbed them militants and rushed to stake honours. The protests followed in Srinagar and Tufail was around when cops charged on a mob. Then, one incident led to another and the cycle continued for nearly three months.
Cops identified the mess at LoC quickly, lodged a case and investigated it. It was during the same year that some of the accused in the case were arrested and the case was solved. Army, on its part, took a few years in probing the case and punishing the culprits. But the state government could not do anything in the primary case that it handled.
State government frustrated Mattoo family’s effort to get justice from day one. At the outset, police refused registering an FIR! The family had to get a court order to get this ‘favour’ that should have come on its own. In the second phase, when the investigation started, the family was asked to identify the killer, adding to a witness’s frustration! Soon after, discrepancies started appearing. Then the court was briefed that police have failed to trace the killer cops, if any!
After the case was dismissed, the family fought back, went to the high court and the case was sent for reinvestigation, this time to the specialized crimes investigations branch. Eventually it came with the same report that the killers are untraced.
Assuming that no cop killed Tufail – they apparently did not kill any of the 122 boys of 2010, then who killed him? Does not state’s governance structure owe an answer to this family and to the society? If the investigation of a broad day murder is not completing in five years, what will be the time that courts may require in dispensing justice to the slain boy’s parents?
This apparently is not the first case in which the families seeking justice are being denied the same using the delay option. The outcome of the globally reported Jalil Andrabi murder case was no different from that of Tufail. The system had permitted the killer to fly abroad and the news came to light only after he committed suicide in US. Did the killer soldier’s suicide end the case? Why did not courts identify his accomplices and fix the responsibility for their role?
The incumbent government has been noisy about the idea of justice, the battle of ideas and upholding the human rights. Can Tufail’s case be a test case?