Court Hears Petition Against Crime Branch’s Closure Report in Tufail Mattoo Killing

Srinagar, Nov 19 —– A court here party heard arguments in a petition, seeking dismissal of a closure report filed by Crime Branch in the case of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo’s killing allegedly in police action in 2010.

Tufail was returning home from tuition on June 11, 2010, when a teargas shell, fired allegedly by police, hit him on the head near Gani Memorial Stadium at Rajouri Kadal area of old Srinagar. The teenager had died on the spot.

Nearly 120 protesters and bystanders were killed in police and paramilitary CRPF action in the six-month agitation that followed the death.

Advocate Mian Qayoom, representing the victim family, argued the case at length before Judge Small Causes (Srinagar) and referred to a number of Supreme Court and high court judgments in support of the contention against the closure report. The case according to GNS has been put up for further hearing on December 16.

In May 2015, a Special Investigation Team of Crime Branch filed the closure report in the case before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar, repeating what its counterpart in Executive Police had done in March 2013—closed the case as untraced. “No facts were accosted with where from it could be convincingly gathered with exactitude, how the death of the deceased took place and who was culpably responsible for it,” SIT had said in the report.

The Crime Branch had submitted that there were three varied accounts of the eyewitnesses, official witnesses of police, and expert opinion in the case.

“If they are taken in unison, it throws up a situation where there can be no conclusive culmination of investigation which would appear commensurate with the merits of the case,” the Crime Branch had said.

The investigation was handed over to Crime Branch by High Court on February 14, 2014, while quashing an order by Special Mobile Magistrate (PT&E) Srinagar on March 1, 2013, by virtue of which the court had accepted closure report submitted by the SIT.

Earlier this year, the State Human Rights Commission dismissed a plea by Mohammad Ashraf Matoo, Tufail’s father, seeking directions to the government for providing him a copy of the report, submitted last year by one-man Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (retd) ML Koul on the 2010 unrest.

The CoI submitted the report to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on December 30, few days before the start of the budget session of the state’s legislature. (GNS)

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