More than 10 days have gone by since Najeeb Ahmed, a graduate student of biotechnology at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Univerity (JNU), disappeared without a trace. However, this fact is yet to dawn on the university authorities. At least, that seems to be the case from a "summary and update" report released by JNU.
According to The Telegraph, the document noted Ahmed had "slapped" a supporter of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) during an altercation, but failed to mention his disappearance shortly after the incident. The report, which has drawn severe criticisms of bias and insensitivity, also omitted to add that eye-witnesses had said Ahmed was allegedly "brutally assaulted" by a group of students, also supporters of ABVP, on the night of 14-15 October. Ahmed has been missing since 16 October.
The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) issued a statement condemning the release for failing to admit "the beating up of Najeeb by a group of students, a fact which has not only been in the public domain but is also categorically mentioned in the statement by the warden who was an eyewitness." Students also tried to block Nelson Mandela Road, opposite Vasant Vihar police station, to stage a protest against the police's inaction over finding any whereabouts of Ahmed.
An earlier agitation by the students led Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar complain of being "wrongfully confined" for hours, along with other members of staff. In his response, JNU students' union president Mohit Pandey told The Times of India, "We have not locked them in. We are lying outside the administrative block and have told them if they want to walk over us and leave, they are free."
Police prevented protestors yesterday from forming a human chain and dragged several students into a bus. Some of those taken to the police station alleged they were hit by the constables on duty, who did not listen to their demand to stage a peaceful protest. The police denied any such action and refused to take down a complaint of custodial assault, even though some students were found with swollen faces and bruises on their bodies.
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