Disturbing questions on the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed

<b>The curious case of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed</b>—<b>Part I</b>



Student Najeeb Ahmed has been missing from JNU since October 14, reportedly after a brawl in the campus
Student Najeeb Ahmed has been missing from JNU since October 14, reportedly after a brawl in the campus
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NH Delhi Bureau

Delhi Police is smarter and more resourceful than police in most parts of the country. It has the reputation of being able to find even a needle from a haystack. But when Delhi Police failed to trace Najeeb Ahmed, a postgraduate student of bio-technology at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) even a month after he went missing from the sprawling JNU campus in the capital, several disturbing questions began ‘blowin in the wind’. Some of them are the following:

How credible is the claim that Najeeb took an autorickshaw from JNU at around 11 am on October 15 and got down at Jamia Millia University? This claim was made within 48 hours after the case was handed over to the Crime Branch. How is it that Delhi Police failed to trace the autorickshaw for almost a month but the Crime Branch tracked the driver in less than two days ? Since the autorickshaw driver claimed to have been operating at the JNU gate, it would have been easy for the local police to get to him first. Nor is there any CCTV footage to confirm the driver’s claim.

Why is Delhi Police claiming that Jamia is not cooperating with it? More than one source confirmed to National Herald that police officers wanted the media to mention, without attributing it to them, that Jamia authorities were not allowing police to search the campus. The sudden information leak that Najeeb went to Jamia appears suspiciously like a pretext for the police to enter Jamia. Because it seems highly unlikely that the student could have hidden in the Jamia campus for over a month without anyone getting wind of it.

Why were police teams sent to Haridwar, Ajmer Sharif and Darbhanga? The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung had claimed that the missing student had been seen in Darbhanga. Police officials had earlier briefed the media that police teams were sent to Haridwar and Ajmer as well. While the teams would have been sent following tips, no further information is available on what happened thereafter.

Who planted a pistol, bullets and screwdriver at 2 am at the JNU gate? While police had filed a case against unknown persons after claiming to have recovered a pistol, bullets and a screwdriver close to the JNU gate, there is no explanation why the miscreants would have abandoned them outside. The more likely explanation is that the scenario was cooked up to give the JNU administration a handle to put restrictions on visitors to JNU and create a scare. The question is why.

Who would send a letter from Aligarh claiming Najeeb was being kept in captivity there? Reports say that security personnel at the gate received the letter, which was handed over to the police. And the police found it to be ‘fake’ but confirmed that the letter was posted at Aligarh. The question again is who would send such a letter and why? But the police is clearly not interested in pursuing the investigation into the fake letter.

The sudden information leak that Najeeb went to Jamia appears suspiciously like a pretext for the police to enter Jamia. Because it seems highly unlikely that the student could have hidden in the Jamia campus for over a month without anyone getting wind of it.

Why are Najeeb’s family members under surveillance? Credible reports suggest that members of Najeeb’s family are being kept under strict surveillance. Their telephone conversations are also suspected to be tapped as police believes that the ‘kidnapping’ of the student may have been done by radical Islamic bodies ‘to discredit the Government’. Similar wild allegations have also appeared on various social media speculating that the ‘kidnapped’ student would be killed closer to the election in Uttar Pradesh in order to blame the BJP.

Why were sniffer dogs not taken to the JNU campus for nearly two weeks? There are ‘forest areas’ within the JNU campus and there is surprise at the failure of the police to make use of sniffer dogs to find the trail of the missing student.

Delhi police meanwhile has increased the reward announced for information leading to the missing student to Rupees 5 lakhs, which perhaps is an admission that it has reached a dead-end.

TOMORROW: PART II — Could Najeeb Ahmed have walked out of the JNU campus?

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Published: 18 Nov 2016, 2:30 PM