Najeeb Ahmad, an MSc student at JNU reportedly got into a scuffle with some fellow students in his hostel room and went missing since October 15. JNUSU and his family members have since blamed ABVP for his “abduction”. JNUSU, continuing with its revolutionary ways, then proceeded to confine the Vice Chancellor of JNU to his admin block as part of their protests.
What everyone in the media and the left wanted to portray as a open and shut case of ABVP assaulting Najeeb Ahmad and the latter disappearing, has now been called out thanks to ex-JNU student and columnist Abhinav Prakash. The alternative narrative came to light when Abhinav Prakash visited the campus to find out more about the affair.
No involvement of ABVP in the Najeeb Ahmad episode
Abhinav’s findings show that ABVP was nowhere in the picture. It was Najeeb who first assaulted three fellow hostel mates, who were campaigning for the hostel election for the post of mess secretary. It is alleged that Najeeb got infuriated when he saw one of the students wearing ‘sacred thread’ and there was no provocation from the campaigning students.
The accusation that Najeeb slapped a student without provocation is corroborated by copies of the minutes of the meeting held between the warden and the students, on the night of the event:
The minutes clearly show that Najeeb accepted that he slapped the people who came to his room, without provocation. He made this confession in front of his room-mate Quasim and the hostel President Alimuddin, amongst others including the senior warden.
Two of those assaulted by Najeeb were Dalits, but the hostel warden, himself a Dalit, allegedly prevented the use of Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST act against Najeeb. Najeeb was then asked to vacate his hostel room by the warden. Najeeb admitted his fault and agreed to leave the hostel within a week, and that should have been the end of the story.
There were also reports of Najeeb exhibiting strange behaviour and his roommate Quasim (one of the signatories in the above minutes of the meeting) even asking for a change of room as he feared Najeeb and his behaviour.
Irked by the warden’s stand and the fact that Najeeb had to accept his mistake, the left started putting pressure on hostel president Alimuddin to get the earlier resolution changed. When the president didn’t oblige, some of these students started whipping up communal sentiments by accusing Alimuddin of betraying the ‘Qaum’ (community).
Then Najeeb suddenly disappeared. And the incidents of that night were given a new twist. Students belonging to the left organisations started claiming that Najeeb was virtually “lynched by a mob” that night. Questions remain that if such a serious violence against Najeeb did happen, why did the minutes, signed by the President of JNUSU who belongs to one such organisation, not mention that? Was Najeeb taken so some hospital? Why was no FIR filed? These questions remain unanswered.
Despite circumstantial evidences not backing them, the new narrative was built by these left leaning student organisations, ably assisted by the mainstream media, where Najeeb was painted as a victim and the students who were slapped by him were painted as aggressors. News reports further suggested that Najeeb had been “abducted” by some people, pointing fingers at ABVP.
According to his mother, Najeeb had called her up at 2 AM following that night’s incidents to tell her about the fight he had, which prompted her to rush to JNU from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. She also talked to him at 11 AM when she reached Anand Vihar in Delhi, and Najeeb confirmed that he was in his hostel room. Later he was not found there when his mother reached JNU at around 12.30 PM. He had left his mobile phone in his hostel room. If left is to be believed, a student was abducted in broad day light around noon.
Apart from the claim of abduction sounding preposterous, eye witnesses state that Najeeb had actually left campus the next day in an auto-rickshaw on his own. A CCTV footage of this incident would have proved or disproved this claim, just as minutes of the meeting prove what happened that night, but JNU has no CCTV cameras installed. When the administration proposed so, whole of JNU had protested against their installation as they didn’t want the ‘state’ monitoring their fiefdom.
Intimidation and threats
The chain of events doesn’t stop here. Now violent elements are threatening students of JNU who are going against the narrative. Ex-Joint Secretary of JNUSU and ABVP activist Saurabh Sharma who posted the copies of the minutes on Facebook to defend his organisation being dragged into the incident, is now getting death threats. A letter from Jahangirpuri sent by some ‘Sahid Khan’ says that “he will find and cut” Sharma into pieces and that “he will burn down the entire ABVP and the other students of JNU”.
Even the hostel president Alimuddin took to social media and complained of being harassed by some groups. The hostel where it all happened – Mahi-Mandavi hostel – is being branded a “Sanghi hostel” by the left student groups.
A larger game at play
So why did all this happen? Was Najeeb the sole person responsible for it? Apparently no.
It is feared that many parties to create a Rohith Vemula kind of a situation again, with Najeeb Ahmad as the scapegoat, with someone else pulling the strings. Whether Najeeb became a part of it voluntarily or involuntarily is not known yet.
But whatever may be the case, the controversy has again put JNU in news with a narrative that ‘our campuses are not safe’ blaming a particular ideology. This will continue to grow in days to come, before the truth comes out, if it ever does.