Fatima Nafees & Radhika Vemula call on march for Najeeb after two years of Najeeb’s “disappearance”

Two years since Najeeb’s “disappearance”,  Fatima Nafees & Radhika Vemula have called for the march from Mandi House to Parliament Street on 15th October 3:00 pm asking justice for Najeeb. March is for Hope, Justice & Memory. The march is organized by the United Against Hate, an activists collective in Delhi.

Najeeb Ahmed was a first-year M.Sc Biotechnology student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi who went missing under suspicious circumstances on 15 October 2016 from his hostel in the university campus. The night before, on October 14, 2016, the 27-year old had been assaulted by activists led by Vikrant, another JNU student and associated with the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Najeeb’ mother Fatima Nafees filed a habeas corpus petition on November 25, 2016, before the Delhi High Court after the Delhi Police had failed to make any headway in the case a month after her son’s disappearance.

On November 7, JNU chief proctor A.P. Dimri sent show cause notices to at least four students, including Vikrant and the three others. The notices said they “have been found to be involved in hitting Mr. Najeeb Ahmed and using derogatory language with provocative behavior on 14 October in Mahi Mandavi Hostel”. The show caused students were given seven days to reply. Sources said the four had replied by November 14 but there had been no follow-up action.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration was accused of partisanship and inaction to protect Najeeb’s assaulters by the JNU student community, which blockaded the administration block for 20 hours on 23 October 2016. The administration had issued circulars calling Najeeb an accused which had angered students on campus. After it issued a 25-point bulletin on Najeeb where it did not mention his assault the night before, the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) blamed the administration for their apathy and bias in handling the issue and criticized the bulletin released by the university for ‘selectively omitting’ the fact that Ahmed was attacked during a brawl a night before. Najeeb Ahmed’s mother Fatima Nafees also accused the JNU administration of insensitivity.

Fake news has repeatedly emerged in the media about Najeeb’s disappearance, the most serious of them being reports of Najeeb joining ISIS. Upon the first publication of such news, the Delhi Police immediately denied having found any evidence that Najeeb had joined or was even interested in the ISIS Despite this emphatic denial, these news keep appearing regularly.

Citing “utter humiliation” and “mental agony”, and stating that “news items such as this poison and prejudice the mindset of the public at large”, Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees has filed a defamation suit against media houses involved in publication of such news.

Recently the Delhi High Court allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a closure report in the missing case of  Najeeb Ahmed, who mysteriously disappeared in October in 2016. The Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel allowed the Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees to move the trial court for a status report and to raise grievances before it when the report is being filed. The court’s directive comes a month after the investigative agency informed the bench about its decision to close the case under section 169 (release of accused when evidence is deficient) of the CrPC.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Nafees said, “It has been two years. I had high hopes from the court but we didn’t move even an inch. The security agencies have misguided the court. We will now go to the Supreme Court. All that is happening since the last two years is being done under the pressure by those sitting in power.”

The Parliamentary march is part of the unending protests and struggles led by Fatima Nafees to secure her son justice. Even after two years of forced disappearance of Najeeb, the investigation agencies failed miserably to do justice to Najeeb and his family.

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