WAITING FOR the last five days for any information from the police, Wednesday was a particularly traumatic day for the family of Najeeb Ahmad, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student who went missing last week.
When Ahmad’s younger brother Mujeeb received a phone call from the police on Wednesday morning, what he hoped for was good news. Instead, he was told to go to Ranhola police station to identify a body.
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Disturbed, he left for the police station from Zakir Nagar, where he is staying with relatives. He was joined by his cousin Aqdas Musharraf for the identification process. “We were told the body could be our brother’s because it had no sign of identification. Najeeb was not carrying any identity proof (when he went missing),” Aqdas told The Indian Express.
Along with the SHO of Ranhola, the cousins were taken to the mortuary of Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital at Mangolpuri to identify the body — in a black T-shirt and gray pants. “One half of the body had completely decomposed; there were worms everywhere. It was difficult to recognise the face, but I still touched the body to ascertain if it was my brother,” Mujeeb said.
Mujeeb immediately called his mother.
Fatima Nafees, the missing student’s mother, said, “They told me the body was in a round-neck T-shirt. I knew immediately it was not my son. He only wears collared shirts and T-shirts.”
Aqdas and Mujeeb still spent several minutes trying to figure out whether it was their brother’s body. “We saw several things: Najeeb’s fingers are long, the body’s weren’t. Also, he (the dead person) wasn’t as tall as Najeeb. But what finally convinced us was that the body was not circumcised,” Aqdas said.
Hoping that no one has to go through this trauma, Najeeb’s cousin sister Sadaf Musharraf said his mother knew her younger son had been summoned for identification. “Yet, she sat the entire day at JNU with a straight face. She didn’t tell the students anything, so that they do not panic,” she said.
“On TV, we used to watch Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid (former JNU Students’ Union office-bearers arrested on sedition charges). We never imagined we will be in the news. Today we have become the story,” Sadaf said.
Addressing JNU students at the administrative block on Wednesday, Sadaf told them that Najeeb’s family was disappointed with the university administration’s attitude and would seek legal help.
Meanwhile, the police on Wednesday put out missing posters of Najeeb and announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 for anyone providing information that could help locate him. The poster mentions that Najeeb is 5 feet-10 inches tall and was wearing a black T-shirt and brown pants when he went missing on October 14.