“When somebody’s child dies, at least the mother feels consoled that she saw the dead body and knows how he or she died. I don’t know where my child is, in what condition and why did he go missing in the first place?” cries Fatima Nafees, mother of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, in a conversation with SheThePeople.TV.

Ahmed went missing from his hostel room on 15 October in 2016. His whereabouts are yet unknown. After Najeeb’s disappearance, Delhi Police filed an FIR of kidnapping and wrongful confinement. The case was probed by Special Investigation Team, Crime bureau of India and the crime branch of Delhi Police but none of the law-enforcing agencies were able to find any leads in the case. Even the Delhi High Court reprimanded them for their insufficient effort. Finally, in 2018, CBI dropped the search for Najeeb.

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Kavitha Lankesh, sister of Gauri Lankesh who was assassinated in 2017, also spoke to us about the accused persons in such killings, “Basically they are all from different organizations but they come under Hindutva institution. We should all be against something like this because ours is a secular country and everybody should have the liberty to live in peace.”

Najeeb's Mother Fatima Nafis
Kavitha Lankesh at a public meeting in Delhi

I don’t know where my child is, in what condition and why did he go missing in the first place?- Fatima Nafees

Lankesh asserts that she was never the one to join protests and voice her thoughts on these issues until the death of her own sister. She recalls, “Gauri used to nag me for not attending protests and meets but I am a single parent and I had to work and look after my daughter. So I used to tease her saying you go to my parent-teacher meetings and I’ll join the protests. Of course, I always supported the effort and I spoke up about causes through my work as a documentary filmmaker but coming out and talking really, I have been forced to do it after Gauri’s death.”

Similarly, Najeeb’s mother was never the one to take part in any protests. She was a simple woman who has now been forced by circumstances to come out of her house and plead to the country and its highest institutions to find her son.

Fatima shares, “I have four children but I only expected much from Najeeb because he had the capability. I did my all to educate him to the best I could despite the fact that I am uneducated. I realized that my son has the caliber and he has earned me the respect that today the entire nation knows me as Najeeb’s mother. I feel extremely proud to be known as Najeeb’s mother.”

Gauri used to nag me for not attending protests and meets but I am a single parent and I had to work and look after my daughter. So I used to tease her saying you go to my parent-teacher meetings and I’ll join the protests. – Kavitha Lankesh

Fatima came together with Kavitha and 19-year-old Shaista Parveen, wife of Tabrez Ansari – a migrant worker from Jharkhand in Pune who was allegedly mob lynched for not saying Jai Shree Ram, in a public meeting in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar area to mark the third anniversary of Najeeb going missing on Tuesday. Several other dignitaries including BSP MP Danish Ali, author Arundhati Roy, senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, St. Stephen’s College professor Nandita Narain and several student representatives also spoke in solidarity with the victims.

Najeeb's Mother Fatima Nafis
Women in solidarity with victims of hate violence

JNU Student Union’s President Aishe Ghosh, who joined the university in the same year as Najeeb, also spoke to us to express her concerns and said, “We have been seeing it from the last five years, how the marginalized sections especially the Muslims are being ghettoized in our country. With Najeeb gone missing and being framed as a member of ISIS etc. we have seen it happening to our Muslim friends first hand. The stories that have come out after his enforced disappearance from the campus should make realize how shameful this matter is.”

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