Exactly five years ago on 15 October 2016, Najeeb Ahmed, disappeared from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), following a scuffle with students connected to right-wing organization Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)
Reports have it that on Friday night (October 14), Najeeb had gotten into a scuffle with three ABVP members outside his room at the Mahi-Mandvi Hostel. Najeeb is said to have gone missing since the following day (October 15).
Najeeb is still untraceable. His family seconds reports that he was kidnapped by ABVP members.
Eldest of four siblings, Najeeb had moved to Delhi to study at JNU in August 2016, mere months before he went missing. He was 27 when he disappeared
When and where did he go missing?
The JNUSU published pamphlets accounting their version of the incident that took place on Friday night.
“On 14/10/2016, around 11:30 pm, some three students went to the room of Najeeb Ahmed, MSc Biotechnology (first year), Room No 106, Mahi Hostel to campaign for hostel elections. At this time, there was an alleged scuffle which took place between Najeeb and the others. Hearing noise and commotion, when the residents of Mahi reached Room no 106, they witnessed three students assaulting Najeeb. At this juncture, the residents seeing a group of students howling and coming towards Room No 106, for security concerns, locked Najeeb in his room.
The G4S security personnel have upon reaching the hostel opened the door. Despite the presence of security personnel, some 10-15 students brutally attacked Najeeb. After the attack, the residents again locked Najeeb in the washroom and blocked the entrance, waiting for the Hostel warden to reach. As the senior warden, Dr Sushil Kumar reached the place, they started moving to the Warden’s office in the ground floor. Despite the presence of the senior warden and G4S security Najeeb was criminally intimidated and communally targeted by the same group of students on the way to the warden’s office. The JNUSU President and other hostel residents who had come to stop the attack were also assaulted by the same 10-15 group of students.
In the Warden’s office, in front of the Senior Warden Dr Sushil Kumar, and the other wardens Dr Somyajit Ray and Dr Arun Srivastava, these group of lumpens threatened Najeeb Ahmed for his life and limb. They repeatedly told the warden not to initiate any proceedings and leave Najeeb to them and then they would not spare him. They also hurled patriarchal and communal abuses at Najeeb in the presence of the wardens. Despite being present at the site all along the G4S did not collect any video evidence of the assault and the Warden failed to intervene to stop the assaulting students.
It is extremely disconcerting that from the morning after the attack, Najeeb Ahmed is missing since 11:00 AM, 15/10/2016. A complaint in this regard has been filed in the Vasant Kunj Police station by his family members.”
What happened after that?
The Delhi police in a protectoral enquiry found JNU ABVP member Vikrant Kumar guilty of assaulting Najeeb during a scuffle, the night before his disappearance. An FIR was registered under the Indian Penal Code’s section of kidnapping. Najeeb’s laptop and phone were reportedly taken by the police from the hostel. Also found in his room were a pair of slippers, a few clothes he had purchased recently, and a Titan wat ch.
Nine people were named as accused in the case. However, the case is yet to yield conclusive results.
Nine people were named as accused in the case but that didn’t yield any conclusive results. Fatima alleges that the accused were let off easily. “The agencies have failed to do their job; I won’t get tired of saying this. The accused got jobs, the police officers who investigated the case moved on, got promoted… And here we are, still waiting for justice,” says Fatima Nafees, mother of Najeeb.
Almost two years after Najeeb went missing, Fatima filed a defamation suit against some media houses that identified her son as an “ISIS sympathiser.” The same year, the CBI filed a closure report, and declared Najeeb “untraced.” This was challenged in court by Fatima, and last year, the court sought the CBI’s response in the matter.
Disappointed with the investigation agencies, Fatima has participated in several protests in the past four years. “We are a Muslim minority in this country. Thus, no minister came forward to voice-out for us. The case has been neglected and no arrests have been made,” she told Anadolu Agency.
In October 2018, the CBI gave up on its investigation and filed a closure report in court, stating that it was unable to locate Najeeb despite concerted efforts and declaring him “untraced.”
Five Years Later
On Thursday, student outfits collectively marched inside Jawaharlal Nehru University to demand justice for Najeeb Ahmed. The Students’ Islamic Organisation, BAPSA, Fraternity Movement, MSF and Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India participated in the march that started from Ganga Dhaba and culminated at the Sabarmati Dhaba in the campus.
Several student organisations from the University of Hyderabad are also holding a gathering within the campus premises on Friday to demand justice for Najeeb.
The Quint reported that Fatima ensures that her phone’s battery is charged 24×7, the mobile data is never switched off and she answers each call promptly, even those from unknown numbers. “What if it is my son Najeeb?” she asks.