Handicrafts businessman Mohammed Ashraf Mattoo, 50, whose 17-year-old son Tufail was allegedly killed in police action in Srinagar on June 11, is a frightened man today.
Instead of being in other parts of the country most of the time on work, Mattoo has stationed himself in Srinagar for nearly six months now, waiting for justice for his son’s killing that sparked the current phase of unrest in the Kashmir Valley. Tufail was killed on his way back home from tuitions by a teargas shell that hit him on the back of the head.
Mattoo told Hindustan Times that many people visit his family at home and tell them to accept the Rs 5 lakh compensation offered by the state government and keep quiet. “At times, even strangers approach us on the road and tell us not to highlight the issue of Tufail’s death,’’ he said. “But how can a father fix a price for his son’s corpse. He was priceless,” the businessman said.
The warnings and threats have added another unwanted dimension to Mattoo’s agony over his son’s death -- fear. “I am really scared. So, I am thinking of approaching various embassies to seek asylum in another country. But then, I tell myself that I have to fight for my son,” he said.
Kashmir police chief inspector general SM Sahai however said there was no reason for Mattoo to be scared. “There has been no such threat to the family,” he claimed.
Sahai said Mattoo’s allegations of being intimidated would be looked into if he approaches the local police. As for the case of Tufail’s death in alleged police action, Mattoo said there have been 25 court hearings but the case hasn’t moved forward.
“There was a simple directive by the court that there should be an identification parade of the policemen on duty that day. But the police simply said they received no such orders,’’ he said.