The case of the missing JNU student gets ‘curiouser’ 

Delhi Police has delayed probe with the main accused to be questioned yet, failed to produce the statement or call records of the autorickshaw driver who allegedly drove Najeeb out of the campus

Photo by Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

A division bench of the Delhi High Court on Friday directed Delhi Police to record the statements of nine JNU students accused of assaulting Najeeb Ahmad before the next date of hearing on May 12. The court has been hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the missing JNU student’s mother.

The court observed that there was no explanation yet on why the investigation into Najeeb’s disappearance was not initiated for over a month by the police after the complaint was lodged and who was responsible for it. The court also wondered why the nine accused students have not yet been interrogated.

Colin Gonsalves, lawyer appearing for the petitioner, submitted:

  • Three months have passed after the High Court ordered the nine accused to declare whether they would appear for a polygraph test. But they have not bothered to appear before the court.
  • While the police claims that a JNU warden had seen Najeeb board an autorickshaw and that the police had recorded the statement of the autorickshaw driver, neither his statement nor his call detail records have been placed before the court.
  • The warden in question has apparently not submitted any statement or made any claim in any record about Najeeb boarding the auto-rickshaw.
  • The Times of India and various other news agencies carried reports in March, quoting Delhi Police sources, about Najeeb’s links with ISIS. People involved in making such unsubstantiated and irresponsible statements be identified and brought to book.

What is known about the Najeeb case so far is as follows (in the words of a faculty member):

  • A student, say X, goes to Najeeb's room while canvassing for his candidature in the hostel level elections.
  • The two get into some fist fight and it is reported that Najeeb slapped the other boy X. When Najeeb allegedly slapped the boy X, there were only the two of them in the room, so nobody knows what actually happened.
  • X returns the same evening with a group of students belonging to ABVP to Najeeb's room and they drag him to the bathroom and beat him up badly. This is seen by other students also. Wardens come to the scene and rescue Najeeb.
  • The group of students who beat up Najeeb submit their statements as also Najeeb as asked by the hostel wardens.
  • In his statement, Najeeb writes (or is made to write after a bad thrashing) that he had slapped X.

The wardens cite this statement and in complete denial of the fact that they themselves had seen that Najeeb was badly beaten up by a group of students, order Najeeb's expulsion from the hostel.

Wardens cannot expel any one, though they can recommend expulsion after satisfactory completion of inquiry by the office of the Proctor.

Najeeb is taken to the hospital by his roommate. This is at night. No warden or university security accompany him to the hospital.

After the medical aid, Najeeb calls his mother and tells her that there was a crisis and that he wanted his mother to reach Delhi as early as possible.

His mother, according to the statement of the boy who had accompanied Najeeb to the hospital, told Najeeb that she would start for Delhi immediately but would reach only in the afternoon. She also told Najeeb's friend that Najeeb needed to take some medicine as he couldn’t sleep when disturbed.

For someone who was beaten and humiliated, it is not difficult to imagine his state of mind and the apprehension he must have had. Najeeb, by all accounts, got back to the hostel but barely slept.

Next day he keeps waiting for his mother and suddenly before his mother arrives is reported to be missing.

  • The wardens in their report have written that some students ganged up in order to beat Najeeb, which arguably is a bigger crime than Najeeb allegedly slapping X.
  • But no action is taken against the gang of students. But Najeeb is served with an eviction notice from the hostel.
  • People claim they saw him take an auto rickshaw. Who saw nobody knows but the story circulates.
  • Some say they saw Najeeb going to Jamia Milia Islamia.
  • Some say he was seen in Darbhanga.
  • Now they say he has joined ISIS.

Where can Najeeb be? If he is alive, then can't he contact his family or his mother? When his mother arrived at JNU after Najeeb's disappearance and wanted to meet the Vice Chancellor, why did he refuse to meet her?

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Published: 21 Apr 2017, 8:04 PM