Reacting to the news of one its students’ disappearance since Saturday morning, allegedly after an altercation with ABVP members, the JNU Monday referred to him as “accused” in a statement, leading to a shutdown call from the students’ union.
Even as the university administration maintained that efforts were on to trace the ‘missing’ student, Najeeb Ahmad, the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) gave a call for “total shutdown” of the university and “non co-operation” with the administration. The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) too condemned the use of the term “accused” for Ahmad.
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A case of abduction was registered at Vasant Kunj (North) police station Sunday following Ahmad’s disappearance. On Friday night, Ahmad had allegedly slapped ABVP activist Vikrant Kumar, who had come to his room at Mahi-Mandavi Hostel to campaign for the hostel elections. The JNUSU claimed Ahmad accepted hitting Kumar and apologised, but was “brutally attacked” by ABVP members. The ABVP has rejected the allegation.
JNU said in a statement, “… wardens of the hostel met and discussed all the issues related to the incident with the students present, including the hostel president, JNUSU president and room-mate of the accused,” the university said in a statement… The matter was resolved that night and decision was taken on disciplinary measures. The students were assured of a speedy inquiry. In the mean time, the accused student’s parents lodged a police complaint, saying their son was missing from the hostel.”
JNUSU president Mohit Pandey said, “While we were in a meeting with the administration, the registrar texted Saurabh Sharma (former joint secretary from ABVP) and called him. They’ve called the victim an ‘accused’ in a press release… there is no point in engaging with them. We need to go for total non co-operation.”
Different versions of what happened in hostel
There is no single version of what happened Friday night at the Mahi-Mandavi Hostel, but what is common in all the narratives is there was definitely some altercation. While some students said they saw Ahmad with a bloody nose, the ABVP said it was Ahmad who attacked its activist, Vikrant Kumar. The hostel’s senior warden said Ahmad had accepted slapping someone, but not for religious reasons.
In the midst of these versions, is what Ahmad’s mother knows. She “cannot understand” how her son vanished after calling her at home in Badaun in Uttar Pradesh around “2 to 2.30 am” on the night of the incident.
“He said nothing except that ‘Mere saath koi haadsa ho gaya hai, aap aa jaiye (There has been an incident, please come)’. I told him I would leave as soon as possible, but would not make it to Delhi before noon the next day. I called his roommate Qasim, who said it was just a small incident and everything was under control,” Ahmad’s mother Fatima Nafeesi told The Indian Express.
“I spoke to him again Saturday at 11 am, from Anand Vihar Railway Station, and told him I was on the way, but when I reached the university around noon, he was gone. His mobile phone, wallet, everything was in the room. Now, I sit holding his mobile, hoping he will call me any minute,” she said.
“I just want my son back. If the university wants to rusticate him, let them do so…”
Sushil Kumar, senior warden of the hostel, said Ahmad had accepted slapping Vikrant Kumar, but there was no mention of any communal incident. “He just said he had done it because he got angry… I did not see him being beaten up,” he said.
Vikrant Kumar told The Indian Express, “I had barely started campaigning when Ahmad slapped me and enquired about the red thread I was wearing. He then slapped me twice more. Despite all this, we sorted the situation. Nobody attacked Ahmad. The JNUSU is now politicising the matter.”