3 November 2016| 3:00 PM : Student Union garnered a 1500-strong crowd of students, teachers, workers, politicians and media persons, as well as the family of Minhaj, a 24-year old Jharkhand boy who was allegedly killed by gaurakshaks for the “huge solidarity meeting” on 3 November at Administration Block in the presence of Najeeb’s family on account of his continued absence for the past 20 days. The panel included big names likes the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Member of Parliament and author Shashi Tharoor, Prakash Karat, K C Tyagi, Mani Shankar Aiyer, Annie Raja, Kavita Krishnan and JNU professors: Janaki Nair, Nivedita Menon, Vikramaditya Chaudhary among others.
Earlier, JNUSU along with Teachers’ Association and Staff Association had submitted a memorandum to the VC, urging him to step up the investigation process and take actions against the perpetrators. Sohail Hashmi, on behalf of JNU Alumni Association extended his support to the ongoing movement.
“Aapka gussa hamara bhi gussa hai, aapki samasya hamari samasya hai,” said Tharoor. He asked why has there been no serious investigation and why the campus was not searched immediately after Najeeb’s disappearance. “A serious investigation is sadly beyond what the Administration of the University can be entrusted with,” he remarked.
In the middle of his speech, Najeeb’s mother broke down and her cries silenced everyone.
The parliamentarian urged those present to take proactive steps and not to deviate from the issue at hand.
Arvind Kejriwal was accompanied by Manish Sisodiya; he said: “Hum sab yahan mauzood hain, iska ek karan hai aapka beta Najeeb missing hai. Kal ko mera beta bhi missing ho sakta hai… tab bhi mujhe poora yakeen hai ki yeh log [JNU students] mera saath dekhenge.”
He pointed that the Delhi Police are puppets at the hands of the Centre and the RSS and remarked that “CM ko bhi jail me daal diya.” He said that he has already written a letter to the Home Minster and will meet the President for Najeeb. He urged the students to take this fight outside the campus, and have a dharna at the India Gate. “Prepare a team and collect the students from different universities and raise the voice against the injustices.” He ended his speech by saying, “Najeeb ek hi cheez se waapas aayega: people’s power.”
K C Tyagi, a Rajya Sabha member opined that the prevailing situation is worse than the situation that existed during the emergency. Mani Shankar Aiyer said that the ABVP faction is being supported by forces from outside. He seconded Kejriwal and said that the law and order which is Centre’s responsibility is being handled lackadaisically. Annie Raja said that it is imperative to recognize Najeeb as a Muslim because of the continued ghettoisation of the Muslim community in India. Prakash Karat, CPIM PB Member said that being a founding member of the JNUSU, it is his “prerogative” to advise the students to stay united and rally behind the Union.
Most of the leaders were adamant that ABVP shouldn’t be allowed on campuses.
During the meeting, Satarupa Chakraborty, General Secretary had announced that the Vice Chancellor declined to accept the memorandum. Initially, permission to hold the meeting was denied by the Administration and attempts were made by ABVP to bar the gates and prevent the speakers from entering the campus. However, JNUSU declared that “iss meeting ke liye humne koi permission nahi liya, aage se hum kabhi permission nahi lenge.” The Union also said that they shall no longer respond to any show cause notice in this regard.
Kumar Prashant is a BA student at CRS and writes for The Informer.
Sunaina is a research scholar at SIS and works for Photography Pool of The Informer.