Najeeb mother to cop: Join my protest

Fatima Nafees, mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, today shouted at the police as they jostled with protesting students outside the CBI headquarters.

By Pheroze L. Vincent
  • Published 14.10.17
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Najeeb's mother Fatima Nafees protests outside the CBI headquarters in Delhi on Friday. Picture by Pheroze L Vincent

New Delhi, Oct. 13: Fatima Nafees, mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, today shouted at the police as they jostled with protesting students outside the CBI headquarters.

"You made my son vanish and now you are hitting these sons who are standing with me," she cried.

Almost a year has passed since the biotechnology freshman disappeared on October 15 last year, after a clash with ABVP supporters at his hostel the previous night.

Today, a scuffle broke out between students and police during a dharna demanding justice for Najeeb in front of the office of the CBI, which is probing the case. The protest, which started at 3.45pm, was still on late in the night with the students demanding a meeting with deputy inspector-general Jasbir Singh, the case supervisor.

Activists of the NGO United Against Hate had blocked traffic by parking cars on the road.

Najeeb's cousin Sadaf Musharraf told The Telegraph: "The JNU students have been a constant support, else we would have lost the will to fight long ago."

She said: "We have suffered a lot, especially at the hands of the (police) crime branch which would interrogate our friends and relatives for days on end and yet not touch the boys who hit Najeeb."

The demonstrations at JNU had grown around Nafees, who protested at the steps of the varsity's administrative block for several days. Students had gheraoed vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar for a day for terming Najeeb an "accused" (because of the clash) and failing to punish the ABVP students who had allegedly assaulted him.

The police had claimed that Najeeb had left JNU in an auto-rickshaw for Jamia Nagar the day after the assault. The case was later handed over to the CBI.

Seeing the large police deployment today, Sadaf told a man who had brought his child along to keep the boy away from the barricades.

"I had never participated in demonstrations before; now I've been to so many. Children should be kept away from the batons. I don't have much hope for justice but I come so that no other family loses its children like this," she said.

Additional deputy commissioner of police Manishi Chandra, who headed the special investigation team that probed the case for a while, was seen pushing the CISF jawans who guard the CBI complex and the protesters away from each other.

"Manishi, get out of the way!" the students shouted at the officer, a familiar face at JNU, which falls in his area. He did not budge; nor did the students have a go at him.

Nafees shouted over the barricades: "Manishi said he was like my son and would come home with two buckets of biryani when he found Najeeb. Now he doesn't even take my calls. Would you treat your own mother like this? If you are my son, remove your uniform and join my protest."

Manishi later told this newspaper: "It is my failure that we could not locate him but we hope the CBI does."

"At hearing after court hearing, the CBI comes up with nothing in its reports. It has now even stopped changing the date on the reports," said Akbar Chawdhary, activist of the CPIML- Liberation-backed All India Students Association and a constant presence at hearings of Nafees's habeas corpus writ in Delhi High Court.

"Custodial interrogation of those who assaulted him has still not been done. We won't leave until we get a proper report on what they have found," he added.

Mohit Pandey, who was JNU students' union president when Najeeb disappeared, said: "It was the first time in JNU that the administration had set the stage for communal polarisation through its inaction and acceptance of the ABVP claim that Najeeb had attacked them for wearing sacred threads on their wrist."

He added: "I also realise that agencies do not matter. If the government has decided a narrative, the police and the CBI will use all instruments at their disposal to divert the probe to suit the narrative. We are now extremely vigilant against any clash that can turn communal by immediately publicising it and informing the police."

In August, the high court had termed the CBI's report a "two and a half page scrap" and reprimanded them for filing the same report they had submitted the previous month