On this day five years ago, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) first-year MSc biotechnology student Najeeb Ahmed went missing after a reported brawl with members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Ever since, his 52-year-old mother, Fatima Nafees has been demanding justice for her son.
Following Najeeb’s disappearance in 2016, the then-JNU Student’s Union (JNUSU) accused the ABVP of kidnapping him. 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. Nine people were named as accused in the case. However, the case is yet to yield conclusive results. His mother who alleges that the accused were let off easily remarked to The Quint, “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.”
Najeeb’s mother had filed a lawsuit against some media houses about two years after his disappearance as the media houses started to identify Najeeb as an “ISIS sympathizer.” The CBI filed a closure report the same year and declared Najeeb “untraced.” Subsequently, it was challenged by Fatima and in 2020, the court sought the CBI’s response in the matter.
Ever since, students in JNU and other Universities have been protesting continually and urging the government to bring the culprits to justice.
Even this year, 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.
Eldest of four siblings, Najeeb had moved to Delhi to study at JNU in August 2016, mere months before he went missing.