Mothers March Oct 15: 'I Will Have to Kill Myself for Justice, But I Will Not, I Will Fight'
2 years since Najeeb Ahmed disappeared
NEW DELHI: October 15. Two years since her son disappeared Fatima Nafees does not know what to do. “I will have to kill myself for them to do anything, but perhaps not even then,” she says in one breath. And adding in the next, “I am not going to do it, I am going to fight until they bring my boy back to me.”
Speaking to The Citizen, she said that she cannot even sit on fast for her missing son Najeeb, as she suffers from acute diabetes and hypertension. In the two years she has moved the courts, walked the streets, addressed public meetings, joined demonstrations, met political leaders but to no avail. No one cares, except the students who are my family, she says.
In these two years have any of the Opposition parties, let alone the ruling dispensation, stayed with you? “I do not know any political party, I am not with any political party. All I know are those who are with my son, who care for him, who are standing with us. Those who say they support us should walk with us as well, and be seen with us, “ she says.
Fatima Nafees for whom Delhi has become a second abode, will be here again tomorrow for a march being organised by students and well wishers from Mandi House to Parliament in his memory and for justice. She will be joined by other Mothers --Radhika Vemula whose son committed suicide at Hyderabad Central University and Saira Khan whose young son Junaid was killed by a mob on a train from Delhi. “I know only that those who we see tomorrow are those who are with us,” she said.
Najeeb Ahmad was assaulted by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad boys at his hostel room at Jawaharlal Nehru University, within a week of joining. This was after his mother had camped with him in Delhi to complete the admission process. In response to a call that night she boarded a bus from Badaun, in Uttar Pradesh. She received a call from her son around the time the bus reached Delhi and she informed him that she would soon be at JNU. Najeeb had been taken to hospital with injuries and sounded very distraught -- she can never forget -- on the phone when he had asked her to come.
When she reached the hostel room she found him missing. And since then her quest began. A boy goes missing in daylight from JNU and till today the police, except for conflicting versions, have not been able to provide a clue. When the investigation finally speeded up because of her persistence and the protests, the police claimed that Najeeb was seen getting into an autorickshaw. Later, the investigating agencies refuted this maintaining he was mentally disturbed, a charge denied strongly by his mother, those who knew him in the University, and the rest of his family.
The police have still not been able to join the dots to sufficiently explain what might have happened the morning he disappeared. For two long years there is not a whiff that could be seen as a clue to how he disappeared. Fatima Nafees was sounding more distraught than before, with hope slowly diminishing.
It has been a long journey for her. A woman who clearly was determined to give her children a good education, Fatima Nafees has kept her family together through hard work. Supporting an ailing husband, and looking after her children she rarely ventured out of her home in Badaun except when it was to enrol Najeeb in the university, and ensure that the process was sufficiently smooth. She was more protective about him than other children because “he was always more sensitive.”
But the last two years have changed her. Always a strong woman, she has become stronger. And moved out of a quiet, private space into the public eye--- fighting for justice with rare determination and resolve. The mother who could not stop crying when her son went missing, sitting and walking beside the JNU students who held her hand, is now a warrior charged with the mission of recovering her son. Although she dissolves into tears every now and again, she has braved police lathis, been dragged along with other protestors into detention, faced abuse and accusations, and withstood it all.
One of the worst times for her after he disappeared was when the media carried headlines, planted by government sources, that Najeeb had joined the ISIS. His mother came out with all guns blaring, refuting the charge even as it was made, and showing no fear despite the pressure from the ruling party that few can withstand.
Fatima Nafees is very direct and straight. She does not know how to mince words. Or to hide emotion. Are you being harassed in any way today? And she responds immediately, “not finding my son, not carrying out a proper investigation, what can be bigger harassment than that?”