Five days after Najeeb Ahmed allegedly had a quarrel with students from a right-wing group on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in Delhi, the graduate student of biotechnology is still missing, and there are no leads to trace him.
Hundreds of students staged a midnight protest at the JNU campus on Thursday, demanding that the administration take immediate action to find him. While the students admitted to not letting senior officials of the university leave the administrative block building, they denied having "illegally confined" them.
"They have wrongfully confined us since 2.30 pm with unreasonable demand like bring Najeeb immediately. These things are not in our hands but with the police. We are doing whatever we can. We also want safe return of Najeeb. But they have not even listened to our plea. There is a lady official who is unwell and she too is inside," said Kumar, The Times of India reported.
JNU students' union president Mohit Pandey told TOI, "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."
While the students have described the administration's response to Ahmed's disappearance as "insensitive," a senior university official told TOI that the authorities had already made an appeal for Jung to return and posted it on their website, and they were in constant touch with police over the matter. "Therefore, this is nothing, but illegal confinement and politicising and communalising the matter to create unrest in the campus," the official said.
Chintamani Mahapatra, the Rector, also told the media that people had endured suffocation because there was no electricity in the administrative block building. Pandey told NDTV, "Electricity and all kind of supplies are here. We have also sent food for the people."
Ahmed's parents came from their hometown of Badaun, Uttar Pradesh on Saturday after receiving a frantic call from their son, and they staged a protest on Tuesday near the Mahi Mandavi hostel, where their 27-year-old son stayed in room number 106.
"Something has happened to me on campus. Please come soon," the mother has recounted her son saying when he phoned her around 2:00 am on Saturday.
It is not yet clear whether the altercation which Ahmed had with students from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student group affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was communal in nature or a college brawl that got out of hand. He allegedly slapped an ABVP activist when the group was holding a door-to-door campaign in the hostel for a mess committee election.
Pandey has alleged the ABVP students hit Ahmed in front of the warden, threatened him with physical violence, and they "incited communal violence." The JNU administration has summoned 12 students linked to the incident at Ahmed's hostel on 14 October to depose before a proctorial committee.
With the police no closer to finding him, and no leads on the horizon, tensions are high on campus. Students on the Left and Right are blaming each other for Ahmed's disappearance, and academic activity has come to a standstill as hardly anyone is attending classes, NDTV reported.
Vice Chancellor Kumar admitted that there were no leads which would help trace Ahmed. "Actually nobody knows what has happened to him so far. The family had filed a missing complaint and when we approached the police, we were told that an FIR has already been lodged by the family," he said, TOI reported.
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