The following is a first person account by the reporter:
At 7.05 pm on Sunday, I received a call from an unknown number and the caller asked me if my name was Heena.
I replied in affirmative after which the caller said something inaudible. I asked him to repeat, after which he asked me, “do you know Anirban? You must be aware of the whole situation in JNU.”
My first reaction, which would be the natural for any journalist covering the issue, was to feel that I have got a lead on where these students were hiding. The caller may have seen him somewhere. May be the caller wanted to tell me something about him and others. Gosh, that will be a awesome break if I got some information. All of these thoughts rushed to my head.
But suddenly the caller asked me, “you have been talking to Anirban. Why? Do you know anything about them.”
I couldn’t understand why would anyone ask me that so I asked him who he was and why was he asking me these questions.
“I am calling from Vasant Vihar police station. My name is Babu Lal and your number has come up in the CDR,” he said.
“What’s a CDR?,” I asked him.
“We have call details of Anirban and you have talked to him. We want to know why? Is there is anything you know? “ the caller asked.
The conversation was unsettling but I kept my calm and asked him,”When were the calls made?” He said it was during February.
“Sir, I am a journalist with Hindustan Times and I cover education. I have covered the JNU issue and I for that purpose I have made several calls to many students. As journalists we talk to everyone involved to get quotes from all sides involved. I did talk to the guy during that time,” I replied while rushing to my crime reporter to seek his suggestion about what should I do with this call.
I asked the caller to be on hold and told my senior about the call.
My senior asked me to tell him I was a journalist and I was doing my job.
When I talked to the guy again he said, “It’s okay. We have details of calls on his number. We are just seeing what all calls were done on his number so called you.”
The conversation was short but it had managed to rattle me a bit for the next three hours. But soon I got a tip off that all five students, including Umar Khalid and Anirban, have resurfaced in JNU the campus. I rushed to the spot.
I have been in the campus since last night and have talked to all possible people around. Because that is what a journalist is supposed to do. And that is what I will do.