Four years and counting: Where is Najeeb?

picture credits: The Hindu

Four years ago, an M.Sc. Biotechnology student who lived in room no. 106 of Mahi Mandavi hostel, Najeeb Ahmed disappeared from the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) following a brawl with some of the student members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a body affiliated to the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

After Najeeb’s disappearance on 15 October, 2016, Delhi Police lodged a case of abduction on 16 October, 2016. By the end of the month a reward of Rs. 50,000 which was gradually increased to Rs. 10 lakhs, was announced for any information to locate Najeeb.

An SIT was also set up on instructions of Union Minister, Rajnath Singh. While Delhi Police transferred the case to its crime branch and Fatima Nafees filed a Habeas Corpus in Delhi High court during November 2016, CBI was asked to probe the case on 16 May, 2017 as the city cops could not make any progress even after six months. CBI was slammed on 9 December, 2017 by the High Court for its failure in tracing Najeeb.

On 19 December, 2017, over 600 police personnel along with sniffer dogs, searched the campus to get clues on Najeeb on the orders of the High Court which also suggested to conduct lie-detector test on his room-mate and nine other suspects in the case. When the suspected students’ mobile phones were sent to forensic lab, the High Court pulled up CBI’s lab in Chandigarh for laxity in examining the phones.

Najeeb’s family also alleged harassment by the Delhi Police when pre-dawn searches were conducted at their house in Badaun. 

After this long trail of investigations, CBI told the High Court that no evidence was found to show that any crime was committed. The agency wanted to file a closure report. Nearly two years after Najeeb went missing, on 8 October, 2018, High Court allowed the CBI to file a closure report in the investigation and declared him ‘untraced’.

A MOTHER’S STRUGGLE

While Fatima Nafees has been protesting ever since her son disappeared, she has also claimed that the names of the prime accused students- Vikrant Kumar, Ankit Kumar and Sunil Pratap, were not written in the FIR as she was forced by the Vasant Kunj IO Sandip Kumar and SHO Gagan no not include them. She claims that she was asked to mention the students’ names on her own responsibility.

She slammed the police, asking, “If they did not find anything in that data or their phones, why are they not making it public? We have asked the CBI to show us the phones and the material they claim to have taken from Najeeb’s laptop. But they have not given us a single document.” Najeeb’s sister Sadaf said, “no written explanation was taken from the assaulters that day who beat up Najeeb in front of everyone, including the warden. But they took it in writing from Najeeb.”

“No arrests have been made so far. And those speaking in favour of Najeeb have been put in jails.  This is the work of the Delhi police. They should be ashamed of abusing their power”, says Najeeb’s mother who spoke out loud, every time her voice was tried to be silenced.

More power to the mother who has been waiting for her child to return back home for over four years now.

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Author: Simran Kaur

Simran completed her undergraduate studies in English literature from Delhi University and her postgraduate studies from Calcutta University. She is an ardent reader and a lifestyle enthusiast. Sharing stories over a cup of coffee, is her favourite time off work. You can find her on Instagram @littlespacebuns
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