Mumbai students march in protest over missing JNU student
Months after the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula led to protests in the city, students and activists held a rally to express their anger over the disappearance of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed. He had gone missing on October 15 after he was allegedly thrashed by members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The protest march organised by Joint Action Committee for Social Justice — an umbrella body of various Dalit, Muslim and leftist student groups — started from Kurla station and ended at the Kalina campus of the University of Mumbai (MU). The protestors submitted a memorandum to vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh, demanding action against Najeeb’s assaulters. Among the ones who addressed the rally was Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar and president of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh.
The students projected Najeeb and Vemula as symbols of ABVP and other right-wing organisations’ excesses against Dalits and minorities. “Lakhs of such Najeebs have gone missing in places like Kashmir and Jharkhand. Our fight will continue until the country is freed from injustice and casteism,” said Salman Ahmed, president (Mumbai division), Students Islamic Organisation of India.
Holding the placards bearing pictures of Najeeb, the protestors asked the Delhi police to find the missing student. They also chanted slogans against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), ABVP and ‘Brahmanwad’.
“Najeeb’s mother is crying for help on the street. Her sister has asked the JNU vice-chancellor to find him. What are the Delhi police doing? The culprits are still out at large,” said Sagar Bhalerao from Samata Vidyarthi Aghadi.
The activists also said that they want to end the ‘environment of fear’ in the campuses across the country. They added that they would continue with their protest till the missing student is found.
Students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ Radical Study Circle, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, Chhtra Bharti, Vidyarthi Bharti and Samyak Vidyarthi Andolan attended the march.