Puducherry: The student community of Pondicherry University came together demanding the Union government to find Najeeb Ahmed who had disappeared from the Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University on October 15, 2016. Rain couldn't dampen students' spirit to protest against the likely apathy of the authorities to crack the case even after three years.
Student organisations like the Students Federation of India (SFI), Ambedkar-Periyar Students Forum, All-India Students' Federation (AISF), Muslim Students Federation (MSF), the Fraternity and the National Students' Union of India (NSUI) conducted a solidarity rally and protest gathering on Tuesday on the PU campus in response to a call for nation-wide agitation made by Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees.
Najeeb, a first-year Msc Biotechnology student, had went missing from the JNU campus reportedly following a scuffle with a few student activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students' outfit of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The MSF, Fraternity and NSUI organised the solidarity march from Boys Mega mess to Girls Mother Theresa mess. In the protest rally, which started at 6 pm, students put forward their demand towards the central government and the CBI to find Najeeb as soon as possible.
More than 100 students participated in the protest gathering and proclaimed that they will continue asking “Where is Najeeb”. “The issue of Najib is not just an isolated incident. Najeeb's identity as a Muslim had resulted in his disappearance. A nation which keeps 8 million people locked down with no contact or communication with the outside world and take away thousands of people from their family without being answerable to anyone is a dangerous threat to minority communities. What they want is to create fear in the minds of minority communities and keep them away from campus. We are not afraid of the threat. We will not allow oppressors to erase Najib from our collective memory and we will keep asking “Where is Najeeb” until we find justice,” Sahla Rahmathulla, a student activist from the students' association Fraternity, told Onmanorama while referring to the clampdown in Kashmir.
“It is clear from the negligence of the authorities that this forced disappearance continues only because Najeeb Ahmed is a Muslim. As long as the upper-caste thirst for power and dominance prevails, this may happen to any student belonging to a minority community or Dalits. Such deliberate negligence, injustice and divisiveness should be put to an end at any cost. We will continue our fight till justice granted. We are all Najeebs,” Saithu Mohammed,a PhD Scholar and MSF activist told Onmanorama.
By 7 pm another protest gathering and torchlight march were held on the campus by the SFI. The protestors raised slogans like ‘Bring back Najeeb’, ‘Arrest goons who lynched Najeeb’, ‘Bring Down Hindu Extremism’ etc. Students’ Council President Parichay Yadav, Vice Presidents Mamatha.G and Kumar, and executive Council member Rupam Hazarika addressed the gathering.
Hundreds of students with different political affinities joined the agitation and raised their voice in support of Najeeb’s mother who has been struggling to know the fate of her son since his mysterious disappearance in 2016. Fathima has had to reportedly put up with harassment by the authorities since then.
The torchlight march ended up by 9.30 pm.
“SFI believes that the Najeeb went missing as a part of conspiracy by the Sangh Parivar which always tries to silence the dissenting voices on campuses. This case is a direct attack on the whole idea of democracy and to oppress the voice of people by a mode of fear. The authorities who are responsible are maintaining an insensible silence. This can’t be tolerated. Our word to the Sangh Pariwar is that ‘You are killing or eliminating a man not his words, acts or ideas,'” Viswajith Vinod, a SFI student activist of PU told Onmanorama.