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‘Where’s My Country Going?’: Najeeb’s Mother at Delhi Protest

Author Arundhati Roy and BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali were some of the speakers at the event.

Updated
India
3 min read

On 15 October 2016, Najeeb Ahmed, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, went missing from the university campus. Three years on, as he still remains untraced, his mother, Fatima Nafees, is now demanding answers from the Home Ministry.

On Tuesday, which marked three years since the day Najeeb went missing, Nafees led a protest march organised by United Against Hate (UAH), a group of activists and lawyers, at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

Lynching victim Tabrez Ansari’s wife, Shahista Parveen, and Gauri Lankesh’s sister, Kavitha Lankesh, also joined the march. Joining the panel of speakers were author Arundhati Roy, BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali, advocate Prashant Bhushan, DU professors Apoorvanand and Nandita Narain, among others.

Pointing to the kin of victims who put up a show of solidarity at the march, Najeeb's mother said, “Where is this country going? This doesn't look like our India. After 2014, the kind of incidents that are continuously happening, we should be ashamed of them. The situation should be improved so that we don't have any more families of victims.”

When asked what she would say to Najeeb if he were to come back, Nafees told The Quint, “I will say that it is a victory of all my children, all the students of all universities who stand with me today. I will read my namaz, pray and thank the God. I will hug him and tell him about everyone who stands with me today.”

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‘Political Class Has Failed Us’

Earlier, while addressing protesters at the event, Roy said, “The entire political class has failed us. As the country’s GDP goes down, the BJP’s GDP has almost become that of a small country. They can buy everybody or crush anybody... We have to fight this ourselves.”

Meanwhile, speaking to The Quint, Kavitha called for the government to punish those people who are “standing on podiums, and spreading hate and division.”

Talking about her sister, she said, “Though I am just an activist through films and I come for these events. I think Gauri is sitting up there somewhere making me do these things and she's probably very happy about me right now.”

Parveen also expressed her emotions in a few but strong words.

“All of you already know how my husband was brutally beaten to death. To get justice, I came from Jharkhand to Delhi. I am going here and there, everywhere to get justice for Tabrez. I want justice, Modi ji, all I want is justice.” said Parveen.

The protesters chanted slogans of “Delhi police haye haye!” “ABVP haye haye!” as they started their march towards Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence to hand in a memorandum.

 ‘Where’s My Country Going?’: Najeeb’s Mother at Delhi Protest
(Photo: Aliza Noor/The Quint)

However, the police impeded their march and set up barricades at the location of the protest. UAH confirmed that the letter was submitted to the police who will give it to the Home Minister.

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The ‘Disappearance’ of Najeeb

An MSc first-year student, 27-year-old Najeeb was reported missing from the JNU campus after an alleged scuffle with members the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP has, however, denied its involvement.

In October last year, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) closed its investigation into the case, as the agency's efforts to trace him yielded no results. In its closure report filed before the Delhi High Court on 15 October 2018, the CBI said there was no trace of foul play despite investigating the case from all angles.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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