The disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed still haunts me. I still wonder whether the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University or the metropolitan city like Delhi or even as a citizen of a country share the same anxiety.
Najeeb Ahmed, an M.Sc. student in Biotechnology, studying at JNU, suddenly disappeared from his hostel on October 15, 2016. He had a scuffle with some student from ABVP, the student organisation of the BJP. It is believed that the fight led to the disappearance of Najeeb. The narratives that lead to the crime are multiple. Leaving the cause of the scuffle aside, what worries me is the question that isn’t the security of its students a concern for one of the most prominent universities in this country?
It also cannot be overlooked that the fight clearly brings in the hatred that the ABVP or the BJP has for the people of minority communities, and this isn’t the first instance.
It has been around 140 days, and Najeeb is still missing. His mother continues to protest in various cities including Delhi. The photo of the wailing mother is seen no more in the newspaper. But she hasn’t lost hope.
Various leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, the CM of Delhi, Akhilesh Yadav, the CM of UP, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and other leaders, have spoken about the issue. Still, Najeeb’s mother awaits her son.
The JNU Students’ Union has criticised the role of the JNU Vice Chancellor, Jagadesh Kumar, and the Delhi police, who haven’t even interrogated the ABVP students who were involved in the scuffle the night Najeeb disappeared.
I wonder, is there no person left in this democratic country who could provide justice to Najeeb’s mother? The intervention of the High Court has hardly brought any progress in the case.
People like Akhlaq are lynched by a furious mob and students like Najeeb disappear.
The message that reaches the masses, through these incidents, is of hostility and terror. The inability of the police, the blackout of the media and the silence of the leaders are a clear message to the minority community which has no option but to live in horror. The masses may soon forget Najeeb and Akhlaq, but newer cases of injustice, violence and lynching keep surfacing.
The fight for Najeeb is not just about finding a disappeared student. It is about resisting evil – whether it is the communal force or the idle masses who remain blind to injustices.
Don’t we have the right to question the credibility of the government that has failed to do its duty? We should also question ourselves whether we have given sufficient rights to the minorities to sustain and live peacefully.
If we had abided by the Constitutional Rights that ensure equality to all Indian citizens, incidents of violence against the minorities would not have happened.
It is high time we accept that we haven’t done enough to bring the minorities closer to us; rather, we have forced them to live in ghettos.