After camping outside the CBI headquarters all night, Fatima Nafees, the 48-year-old mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad, met senior probe officers of the CBI on Saturday afternoon. “They said they are starting from ground zero… looking into several angles but don’t have any leads. They also asked us to keep them informed of any clues or leads that we have,” said Nafees.
At the meeting at CBI headquarters on Saturday, Nafees was accompanied by former JNU students’ union presidents Akbar Chaudhary and Mohit Pandey. Pandey revealed that the “CBI officers mentioned that they are applying for polygraph tests of the nine ABVP members”. On October 15, 2016, Najeeb, a first-year MSc student at JNU, went missing, a day after he allegedly got into a fight with ABVP members.
Outside, protesters waited in anticipation for Nafees – now known as ‘ammi’ to most — to come out and share the details of the meeting. “Najeeb ki ammi… ab yehi meri pehchaan hai. Main yahan ab sabki ammi hu,” said a tired Nafees. Apart from slogans demanding justice for Najeeb, many also shouted “Ammi tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhaare saath hai”.
A cup of tea later, she spoke to The Indian Express about her 27-year-old son Najeeb. “I wanted him to go to Jamia Millia Islamia but when he got through to JNU, he said it was the Oxford of India and told me how, after graduating, he would quickly get a good job.” At 5:15 pm, Janta Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav too showed up at the protest venue to express solidarity.
Addressing the 70-plus protesters, he said, “This is not just your fight…it’s a fight against all the atrocities being committed in the country. CBI is a premium institution… Yeh unki naakami ka nateeja hai ki aap sab log yaha baithe hai aaj.” Talking about Najeeb, who will turn 28 on October 18, Nafees said, “He used to always say how easy it is for his siblings to befriend people…he would tell me how not many liked him. If he sees this gathering today, he would know how much people love him…how they are fighting for him.”
A resident of Badaun, UP, Nafees is hopeful that on Monday the CBI’s status report will reveal something about her son, who has now been missing for a year. “No one in the family has bought new clothes or celebrated anything…the house needs to be painted. But we are all just waiting for Najeeb to return. His new kurta-pyjama still hangs in his room at home,” said his mother.
Meanwhile, JNU administration on Saturday said they have been in touch with the investigating agencies and are waiting for a new lead in the case from the investigating agency. “At the administrative level in JNU, the deans of various schools and chairpersons of the special centres have also been requested to suggest ways of expediting the search for Najeeb,” read a statement released by the university.