This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Saquib Salim. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Student Has Been Missing For Over A Month But Politics Comes First

More from Saquib Salim

By Saquib Salim

It has been more than a month since Najeeb Ahmad, a postgraduate student from JNU went missing after an allegedly violent brawl with a few Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists. The political blame game is still on. However, an important point that is being missed by all the students’ organisations and political parties alike is the fact that it’s a question of a serious lapse of law and order.

This is supposedly the first time that a student has gone missing from the campus of a Central University. This happened in broad daylight, at around 11 am, at a University located in the National Capital. Where are we really headed to? This is not just about Najeeb. Has the law and order situation in the national capital come to such a point that a student is not safe within the premises of a premier educational institution? This issue should have united the Indian citizens in general and the students in particular in asking the tough questions to the lawmakers and its enforcers. Everybody irrespective of political affiliations would agree that Najeeb should return safely. There is no justification in denying someone their right to life.

However, what we have witnessed is fractured mobilisation asking for justice for Najeeb. The incumbent Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) tried to cash in on it. Hours before Najeeb went missing; he had reportedly fought with a few ABVP activists during which he was allegedly beaten and threatened. This made it a perfect ground for JNUSU to push the main opposition party – ABVP to the wall. Other political outfits who claim to be fighting against the ‘Hindutva’ forces also joined the bandwagon and started the movement ‘Bring Back Najeeb’ which talked a little about him and at length about the vicious plans of ABVP.

It pains me to see Najeeb’s wailing mother. Even more painful is the sight of him becoming a political issue. Political opportunism is at the peaks at a JNU which is considered a left bastion and has seen a growing presence of the right wing Hindutva outfit ABVP and is now witnessing the rise of the Students’ Islamic Organization (SIO). The SIO is the students’ wing of the Jamat-e-Islami, a Muslim right wing non-political organisation.

Jamat-e-Islami was banned alongside RSS in 1992 for fomenting communal hatred. Since, October 16, the SIO has claimed that Najeeb’s disappearance is a communal ploy by ABVP to physically threaten and push Muslims out of the educational institutions in the country, an allegation that was also adopted by JNUSU and other organisations.

The SIO has come out a clear winner, politically. It has brought the so-called left organisations of JNU to its knees and compelled them to toe their line. Ideally, left organisations do not believe in religious identities. Yet, in this case, the left led JNUSU sent a delegation to the Ministry of Minority Affairs hence reiterating SIO’s stand that this is primarily a Muslim issue rather than a students’ issue. SIO is not letting the opportunity go and has alleged JNUSU of not taking issues concerning the Muslims seriously. The allegations strike a cord with many Muslim students.

Identity politics has seen a recent rise in JNU. A two-year-old Birsa Ambedkar-Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) gave the AISA-SFI coalition a run for their money for the post of JNUSU president. BAPSA’s election campaign was anti-left, and it alleged communists for being Brahmanical. It questioned the left on the issues of caste and social justice and broke into its traditional vote bank. Left parties on the campus are aware and apprehensive of any such development among Muslim students after seeing such developments in Dalit and Adivasi students.

The JNUSU has called for a nationwide students march “CHALO JNU”, and in its pamphlet, an appeal has been made to various ‘National Level Students’ Organization’. The SIO has been mentioned among those organisations. It has finally arrived into the left-liberal political space of JNU. As this protest has a lot to do against ABVP, naturally its name is not mentioned.

If the JNUSU, the SIO and other organisations can be alleged of opportunism the ABVP, in this case, cannot be called anything but insensitive and immature. A student has gone missing. What one should expect is an outrage against the authorities for not being able to protect a fellow student, but they did the reverse. At every point, ABVP tried to praise authorities hence raising the suspicion of other students that it has something to do with Najeeb’s disappearance. Not only this, the ABVP praised police actions on Najeeb’s family who were protesting at the India Gate.

It should worry us that a student has gone missing from a premier institute in Delhi and not a trace has been found a month later.


Image source: Hindustan Times/Getty Images
You must be to comment.

More from Saquib Salim

Similar Posts

By Imran Khan

By Aman Dubey

By Krishna Singh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below