Where is my son? A year on, painful question remains unanswered for this mother
"When Najeeb took admission in JNU I wished and blessed him for becoming a big famous man. But I had never thought that he would become famous this way."
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,
New Delhi, 12th Oct: "Main hamesha yahi dua karti rahti hun ki bas mera baccha mujhe wapas mil jaye (I always keep praying that I get back my child)," says this mother who has not been able to sleep properly for one year - since her eldest son mysteriously disappeared from India's top central university in Delhi. Tired and weak though, she has kept her hope alive.
Najeeb Ahmed, resident of Uttar Pradesh's Badaun district had cracked entrance exams for M.Sc. (Biotechnology) at four premier universities of the country. His family was glad as he was selected at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia, Hamdard University and Aligarh Muslim University. He had preferred JNU over country's three premier minority institutions and got admission there to fulfill his dream. But destiny had something else for him at JNU.
In her early fifties, Najeeb's mother Fatima Nafees, who keeps herself busy mostly in prayers, tells that when Najeeb took admission in JNU she wished and blessed him for becoming a big famous man. And then she bursts into tears saying, "But I had never thought that he would become famous this way. I had thought I would get his marriage done soon after masters. Now I have given up to see all these dreams. I just want that my Lord let me meet my child."
"My child didn't see any happiness of life. All his books are kept here in the same wall almirah. His Kurta-Pajama prepared for last Eid with the hope that he would be recovered is still kept as such in the almirah," she says while sobbing.
When Najeeb mysteriously disappeared from JNU
Najeeb, 28, went missing from his Room No. 106 of Mahi Mandvi hostel of JNU on 15th October, 2016, just a day after an alleged scuffle with some students of the university - they were also members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Eyewitness and some residents of the hostel alleged that during the scuffle on 14th Oct night, Najeeb was assaulted by a group of 15-20 students. He told her mother about the incident over phone that night and she instantly left Badaun for Delhi to see him. The last time she talked to him was in the morning of 15th Oct when she alighted from train at Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi. But when she reached his hostel room in the university about one hour later, he was not there. And about one year has since passed, he remains traceless.
Fatima Nafees (right) and younger son Mujeeb Ahmed with JNU students became part of large human chain at JNU on 23 Oct 2016. (Photo - IndiaTomorrow.net)
Where is Najeeb? A trauma for whole family
Eldest among four siblings, Najeeb has two brothers and one youngest sister - all are studying. Najeeb's disappearance shattered the dreams of the family who was already facing financial constraints. Their father Nafees Ahmed, in his sixties, earlier worked as a carpenter. He was already suffering from heart disease. And after accidentally falling from roof in 2009, he got multiple fractures and has since been unable to work.
Talking to IndiaTomorrow.net, Najeeb's younger brother Mujeeb Ahmad said that his mother sold out a piece of land, bought in the name of only sister, to meet the expenses of children's education and father's treatment.
"That became our only economic source with which my younger brother could complete his engineering this year and sister is pursuing graduation," he said.
Mujeeb, M.Tech. (Applied Geology) told as to how much he suffered mentally in the last one year and consequently he gave up his dream of becoming a Geologist at Geological Survey of India (GSI).
"After completing my Masters in 2015, I had started to prepare for GSI examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission or UPSC but I had to stop my preparation midway because Najeeb bhai got admission in JNU and I thought that job was more necessary for me to meet the family expenses. When this case (disappearance of Najeeb) happened, it disturbed me very much and I could not do anything," he said.
However, given the economic constraints, he has again begun job search. For the last three months, Mujeeb has travelled lot - from Delhi to Gurgaon to Jaipur to Dhanbad - looking for job but has not got one yet.
"Recently I went for an interview at a Gurgaon-based company. I cleared the selection process. They even called me to collect the joining letter but later they refused to hire me without giving any reason. Before it, I gave interview for job at a Jaipur-based company. I went to Dhanbad (Jharkhand) also when I came to know about a vacancy at the Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research, but no outcome yet," he told in a sad tone.
Asked if he is still willing for GSI preparation, he said, "Now I can't think about GSI as it requires at least one year of preparation. My main aim now is to earn money for the family. Round the clock, awaken or sleeping, I think about how to get a job." Family members of Najeeb and hundreds of students march towards Parliament House in Delhi on 23 Nov 2016. (Photo - IndiaTomorrow.net)
‘University is Responsible'
"If JNU administration had taken serious steps when the scuffle happened (14th Oct night), it (mysterious disappearance) would not have happened. It neither provided any security to Najeeb bhai nor called us. So who is responsible?" he asked.
He further said that even the Delhi Police and later SIT did not call the family; rather the family had to approach them.
Najeeb's family has alleged that the ABVP members were involved in his disappearance but they have not been interrogated yet. On its part, ABVP has denied the charges.
JNU Students Union (JNUSU) also accused the varsity administration of protecting the accused ABVP members by not taking any action against them even after serving notice following a Proctorial enquiry found them guilty of assaulting Najeeb on 14th Oct last year.
Chronology of Event
14 Oct 2016: Scuffle took place between Najeeb and students. He was assaulted.
15 Oct 2016: Najeeb mysteriously disappeared from his hostel room.
16 Oct 2016: Delhi Police lodged a case of abduction on complaint of mother.
17 Oct 2016: Protests started by students of JNU inside and outside campus.
In the end of October, Delhi Police announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for anyone providing information to locate Najeeb. Award amount was gradually increased to Rs 10 lakh by the end of Jan. 2017.
20 Oct 2016: Delhi Police set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the instruction of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
11Nov 2016: Delhi Police transferred the case to its Crime Branch.
25 Nov 2016: Mother Fatima Nafees filed a Habeas corpus in Delhi High Court.
16 May 2017: The Delhi High Court asked CBI to probe the case as Delhi police could not get any breakthrough even after six months.
3 June 2017: CBI filed an FIR for "kidnapping with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine" Najeeb.
More than four months have passed since the country's premier investigating agency took over the case. Yet, there has been no breakthrough in the case.
The next hearing in the Delhi High Court is scheduled for 16th Oct.
Fatima Nafees along with JNU students marched from Mandi House to Parliament Street with Students on 14th Dec 2016. (Photo - IndiaTomorrow.Net)
Tired and weak, mother recalls son's birthday
On coming 18th Oct, Najeeb would turn 28.
"His birthday is on 18th October. I always used to awaken him in the morning this day, love him and would cook the food he liked. I always made sweet bread first for him on his birthday. His favorites were Sweet Bread, Kheer, Biryani and Kebab," she said.
After participating in protests for her son from Delhi to home state Uttar Pradesh continuously for several months, Fatima Nafees, is tired and weak. She has confined herself to home, but has not lost hope. She tries to keep herself mentally strong while though suffering with high blood pressure and diabetes. She gets alert whenever someone knocks on the door and she hopes someone has come with information about whereabouts of her son.
"My heart says that he is alive and will come back. I have full faith in Allah. The prayers of thousands of people for him will be accepted one day. I am unlucky that the acceptance of our prayers is being delayed. Only Allah knows why," says she.