It has been three days since Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, went missing after a brawl with members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Mahi-Mandavi Hostel and the police are yet to locate him.
A complaint has been filed by the student’s family and a case registered under Section 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of the Indian Penal Code at Vasant Kunj north police station. According to the police, Najeeb last spoke to his mother around 1.30 a.m. on October 15, as she was supposed to visit him later in the day. His mobile phone was found in the hostel room.
Meanwhile, the university administration has come under attack from the student community for failing to safeguard Najeeb and reporting the matter to the police, as the incident occurred in the presence of private security guards on campus as well as the senior hostel warden.
Stating that a search for Najeeb had been ordered, the university administration said in a statement that they were in constant touch with the police to facilitate the investigation. The administration added that the matter had been resolved before Najeeb went missing the morning after the incident, and that a decision had been taken on disciplinary measures after a meeting with the wardens of the hostel and the students present.
The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) organised a protest on Monday to ensure that “perpetrators of group violence and those indulging in communal hate-mongering” are punished. They called on the entire JNU community as well as the police to take all steps to find Najeeb and ensure his safety.
The JNUSU said: “On the night of the incident, members of the ABVP threatened Najeeb’s life and limbs in the warden’s office in front of senior warden Sushil Kumar and other wardens Somyajit Ray and Arun Srivastava. They repeatedly told the wardens not to initiate any proceedings and leave Najeeb to them, and that they would not spare him.”
Alleging that there are serious efforts to communalise the issue and communally polarize the campus, the union added that deeply offensive statements like “Muslims are Terrorists” were written on the table of the common room in Mahi-Mandavi Hostel.
Stating that it was shocking to see the administration’s apathy, JNUSU president Mohit Kumar said no concrete steps had been taken despite Najeeb missing from the campus for over three days now.
Reacting to the incident, Rama Naga, the AISA president of JNU unit, lashed out at the university saying that instead of taking action against the culprits, JNU made Najeeb as the accused and the ABVP student the victims.
Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid accused the Vice-Chancellor of trying to shield the ABVP members, saying there had not been a single word of condemnation over the communal attack from him. Instead, according to Ms. Rashid, he said that the matter had been “resolved” despite Najeeb not being found.
Stressing on the immediate task of finding the missing student, former JNUSU general secretary Saurabh Sharma, who is a member of the ABVP, said the Left parties on campus were trying to politicise the issue by giving it a communal touch.
“The incident occurred when ABVP students, who were campaigning in the hostel, were slapped by Najeeb. He even admitted to his mistake. In an emergency meeting held after the incident, he was expelled from the hostel and asked to vacate on or before October 21.”
The JNU Teachers’ Association also condemned the incident and termed it as failure of the university administration in handling the matter. The JNUTA stated that this showed the administration’s inability to carry out their responsibility to safeguard interests of the student community.
Efforts were made to contact the family of the missing student, but they refused to speak about the incident.