Just when the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections were going to take place, and people were wondering whether the coalition of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress can stem the tide of the saffron, a boy dramatically went missing from one of the safest campuses for students in India. A few prominent intellectuals at that time hinted that the boy went missing purposely or the family in cooperation with some political parties hid him to score points against the party in power, with the intention of emphasising the threat which the rise of Adityanath may pose to the minorities in India. However, the elections took place, the much-vaunted coalition has been routed, the prominent intellectuals have switched over to other trendy topics, conveniently ignoring the shameless innuendos of their previous writings, and yet the poor Muslim boy Najeeb is still missing. His mother Fatima Bibi is going from pillar to post in search of her son. During the JNU nationalism series of lectures, many people extended support to her and pledged to help her in getting back her son, among whom was Shashi Tharoor who made a special plea in favour of Najeeb before the Loka Sabha, where he gave a special notice under rule 377. The scene of Tharoor speaking at JNU, and the mother of Najeeb breaking down in front of the audience is a living testimony to the helplessness of a woman who is not able to find her son who had come for studies to Delhi but found himself consumed by the folds of darkness, untraced and unsearched by the authorities whose bias against him and his community has only got amplified over the past three four years. On 15 October 2017 Najeeb completed two years in disappearance. There is as much clue about him today as there was on the first day of his disappearance.
If Najeeb was Anirud
Let us assume that Najeeb had not disappeared in the month of October 2016. Instead of Najeeb Ahmad it may have been Anirud Mukherjee. Imagine the consequences of Anirud's disappearance. So we have Anirud having an altercation with a group of students from the Left Wing and the next day he boards an auto, and then suddenly he goes missing. Immediately, the media would have gone ballistic blaming the coalition of the Left-Muslim mafia for the manner in which they have held a country hostage, and the manner in which appeasement of Muslims is shielding the boys with whom Anirud had an altercation the day before. If Adityanath won a thumping majority in UP, with Anirud missing immediately before the elections in a sensational manner, the thumping majority would have converted into a blank for the opposition, and a lot more ammunition to the ruling right wing party in the center. In all probability, the mother of Anirud may have been all over the print and electronic media, as the face of Muslim appeasement and Hindu suffering in a Hindu majority India. It is all the more likely, that Prime Minister Modi would have made him a component of his speeches, as a missile to hit the secular-Liberal-Left, whose legacy has made it possible to for a tiny few to silence into darkness a member of the majority community.
However, unfortunately the person disappeared is Najeeb Ahmad. And perhaps he has disappeared at a wrong time and at a wrong place. Or may be not. After all, we in Kashmir have witnessed disappearances in thousands in a climate when even the shadow of the right wing was not hovering over the skies of Delhi. His disappearance is not staple of the prime time, nor enjoying the main headlines because his name and his antecedents do not rhyme well with the tone of politics in contemporary India. You have to be of a certain colour and taste, and of a particular bent in order draw the attention of the mighty and powerful. When there are awards being given to people who indulge in the lynching of the Muslim youth, it is asking for the impossible to demand the appearance f Najeeb. The fact of the matter is that probably an entire community has practically disappeared from the radar, except for making some convenient blips on the national radar. Najeeb symbolises a stark disappearance of interest in the affairs of a community. It is no surprise to see his mother sleeping on the roads of Delhi outside the office of the High Court, seeking justice, and no one reporting the same unless she is dragged and the media gets a bit of attention-grabbing photograph.
Telling lack of interest
The investigation is still underway, and it is very much possible that Najeeb comes out alive from his disappearance. Will that prove otherwise what has been said above? No. The point made above is not about absence of investigation but about lack of will and lack of interest behind the investigation. That lack is not mere coincidence but harmonises well with the general atmosphere in the country. It sits well with the Minar-Mahal poisonous, exclusivitst rhetoric from Adityanath. More than lack of interest, there is a telling, petty and nefarious attribution of motives for the disappearance, in which the case is turned on its head, and victim blaming threatens to become the norm. Initially, broad signs were dropped by the police that Najeeb is linked to ISIS, and the witnesses refused to record their statements, and the police did not mind the same. The JNU administration did not bother the students involved either, fearing a backlash from the people who have planted their friend as the head of the institution. Even after the CBI took over, the case is at was. While an infamous television anchor reached under the bed of the room in Leela Palace Hotel in Delhi on which Sunanda died, he does not waste his time over this case. Because, apparently, for some not so peculiar reasons, nation does not want to know.