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Clock ticks on Valley cops
Under fire

Srinagar, Feb. 23: The noose is tightening around the policemen involved in the murder of teenager Tufail Mattoo, whose death last year led to the most unrest the Valley had seen for decades.

Srinagar chief judicial magistrate Yashpal Burney ordered the police to carry out an identification parade of the cops suspected to be involved in Tufail’s murder on June 11 last year and submit the report by March 8.

Tufail, a class XI student, died last year in alleged police firing when he was returning home after receiving tuitions in the Rajouri Kadal neighbourhood in Srinagar’s Old City.

The death led to massive protests and was followed by the death of 111 people during the subsequent five months in firing by security forces.

The police had initially refused to lodge an FIR but a case was registered after the court intervened.

Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, Tufail’s uncle, blamed the police for buying time to save the culprits. “The court passed the directions on October 27 for identification but the police only wants to evade the identification,” he said.

The court had asked the police to identify the suspects in October last year as well. On Monday, it decided to give another chance to the police but asked it to submit the report within 15 days.

Shah said the court had written to Srinagar’s district magistrate in October to depute an officer to oversee the identification parade.

The district administration later appointed Tehsildar South Srinagar, Shahbaz Ahmad Bodha, for the job.

Shah said the police told the court in the last two hearings that they had not received any request for identification.

“The fact is they had already received it. At the third hearing, when they said the same, our counsel showed the records, which clearly said they had received the copy,” he said.

Tufail’s family has in the past blamed the police for harassing them. Tufail’s father Mohammad Ashraf Mattoo said he felt unsafe in the Valley.

When a 10-member team of parliamentarians visited Mattoo’s family in December, he welcomed them but rued that Kashmiri leaders were humiliated by “Indian civil society”, referring to Mirwaiz Umer Farooq being booed in Calcutta and other cities.

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