A Full Year Has Gone By, Where is My Son? Asks Najeeb’s Mother
Protesters gathered around CBI headquarters at Delhi’s Lodhi Road to ask what happened to the JNU student
October 14, 2017
Protesters in large number have gheraoed the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Delhi’s Lodhi Road. They are demanding to know where Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmad is. Ahmad mysteriously disappeared from room number 106 of his Mahi Mandavi Hostel on October 15, 2016 after being allegedly physically assaulted by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists.
The agitators comprising students from JNU, DU, and other universities and activists associated with different groups have refused to leave the high-security zone of the national capital. They are demanding the CBI chief to come out and talk to Najeeb's family.
The country’s premier investigative agency is probing into the case of Najeeb’s disappearance but so far has not made any breakthrough.
“Main yahi chahti hun ki bas mera baccha mujhe wapas mil jaye (I only want my child back)” Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees, who is present at the protest site, told NewsClick.
The visibly grieved mother says she has not slept properly for one year since her eldest son, who will turn 29 on October 18, went missing from the campus. Although tired and weak, she has kept her hope alive.
His family was glad when he was selected at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia, Hamdard University and Aligarh Muslim University. He had preferred JNU over country's three premier minority institutions.
In her early fifties, Fatima Nafees recalled when Najeeb took admission in JNU, she wished him luck and blessed him. "I had never thought that he would become known this way. Now, I have given up on all my dreams. I just want my child back. I will take him back home,” she said.
Amid slogans ‘mere bhai ko wapas laao, mere Najeeb ko wapas lao’ (bring back our brother, bring our Najeeb back), the protestors questioned the “cold shoulder” response of investigating agencies.
“After many months of taking Najeeb's case in hand, CBI has put up the same poster which Delhi Police had released to find Najeeb. This time the reward has been increased to Rs 10 lakhs. This is the only attempt they have made to find Najeeb,” Rama Naga, former general secretary of the JNU Students’ Union, told NewsClick.
“Whenever they come up with any such poster, all words remain the same but the money gets increased. This time the CBI copied everything from the old poster but forgot to mention Najeeb’s full physical information which is the most important factor in public posters. This shows their (the investigators) seriousness in Najeeb's case. It has been a year since the young man went missing from his hostel room but no action has been taken against the ABVP cadres. Will the CBI give its ‘action report’ in this regard?” he asked.
Another protestor Neeraj Kumar alleged that “the CBI is doing nothing to find Najeeb”. “They simply file a scripted reply in Delhi High Court, which is hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Najeeb’s mother, to show they are investigating the matter,” he added.
Another protester said, "If JNU administration had taken serious steps when the scuffle happened, the incident would not have occurred. The university failed to provide security to Najeeb."
The protesters accused the varsity administration of protecting the “accused ABVP members”. The proctorial enquiry found them guilty of assaulting Najeeb on 14 October 14 last year.
The administration has not taken any action against them.
Najeeb went missing from his hostel room on the morning of October 15, 2016, just a day after an alleged scuffle with ABVP members.
Eyewitnesses claimed that during the scuffle on the night of October 14, Najeeb was assaulted by a group of 15-20 students.
He told her mother about the incident over phone that night and she instantly left Badaun for Delhi to see him. The last time she talked to her son was on the morning of October 15, 2016, when she alighted from a train at Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi. But when she reached his hostel room in the university about one hour later, he was not there.
Eldest among four siblings, Najeeb has two brothers and one sister – all are studying. Najeeb's disappearance shattered the dreams of the family who were already facing financial constraints.
Chronology of the incident
October 14, 2016: Scuffle took place between Najeeb and students. He was assaulted.
October 15, 2016: Najeeb mysteriously disappeared from his hostel room.
October 16, 2016: The Delhi Police lodged a case of abduction on complaint of the mother.
October 17, 2016: Protests started by students of JNU inside and outside campus. In the end of October, Delhi Police announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for anyone providing information to locate Najeeb. Award amount was gradually increased to Rs 5 lakhs by the end of November 2016.
October 20, 2016: Delhi Police set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the instruction of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
November 11, 2016: Delhi Police transferred the case to its Crime Branch.
November 25, 2016: Mother Fatima Nafees filed a habeas corpus in Delhi High Court.
May 16, 2017: Delhi High Court asked CBI to probe the case as Delhi Police could not make much progress even after six months.
June 3, 2017: The CBI filed an FIR for "kidnapping with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine" Najeeb. More than four months have passed since the country's premier investigating agency took over the case, yet no progress has been made.
The next hearing is scheduled for October 16.
First published in Newsclick.
Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.