Letter to Najeeb by a JNU student

Dear Najeeb,
I did not know you before 16th October. But now I feel like l have known you for long. I am writing this to you as an apology for every time, we failed you and we failed ourselves. First of all, I want to apologize to you for the incident that happened on 14th even though I was unaware of it until you were gone. I came to know that you were beaten up brutally by the mob of ABVP goons. And we were not there for you. And this happened in a campus, which boasts itself of “We are JNU”. So, we are JNU, who could not save a minority Muslim fellow student from being humiliated and beaten up mercilessly. And after that you went ‘missing’, but I would rather say it was an enforced disappearance, like the one that happens in Kashmir.

I want to apologize to you for numerous times we made your mother and sister come for our protests, which we should have done it by ourselves, without troubling them. They were even dragged and beaten up by the police, while asking justice for you. We let that happen in front of us. The most worrisome of all is that it’s been 39 days and we still don’t know where are you? I get bone chills when I think of what might have happened to you. And you know what, the campus is as normal as can be.

I apologize to you for the fact that this larger ‘progressive’ campus seems to be unmoved by your disappearance. Should I still take pride in the fact that we are JNU? Coming from a distant place, I can very well understand your first days in JNU. I heard from your sister that you had cleared the entrance tests for other universities as well, but you chose to study in JNU. May be you had heard a lot of good things about JNU, as I did and many others did before coming here. Now I feel that your choice proved to be disastrous for you and your family. And I want to apologize that we could not make JNU a safe place for students from minority and oppressed backgrounds. Has JNU not become another Dadri? We could not even generate enough pressure that these Sanghi admin and police investigates the matter seriously. Would it be that, an MP/MLA’s son can go missing for 39 days? Would it be the same attitude of the Delhi police? I am sorry, we haven’t done enough for the people at power to realize, how important you are for us.

I am sorry Najeeb, JNU has failed you bitterly. And again we have failed ourselves. But this failure has also enraged many and there are many unknown voices who are with you, for the struggle to bring you back and deliver justice to you. All of these voices have been stumbling and getting up again and again to fight for you. Even though the tall claims of progressiveness seem hollow to me now and may be for you as well, I just want to keep the flame of hope burning until you are amid us.

Marina Rai, a student of JNU