Fatima Nafees, mother of Najeeb Ahmad who went missing from JNU campus, remains awake even after the whole world goes to sleep in night. She lies on a bed in the room which is closest to the main door of the house, hoping to get a knock by her son, someday.
Hope propels her to participate in protests and press conferences held at the National Capital which at a distance of 275-km from Badaun her home town, a 10-hour journey by bus.
A biotechnology student at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Najeeb, had gone missing from the campus, a year ago, following a reported scuffle inside the hostel with members from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
It is not easy for Nafees, 48, to attend the protests organised in Delhi and other cities to find Najeeb, as her husband Nafees Ahmad is sick and confines himself to house and offer prayers and she has to cough up over ₹2,000 for each trip.
Whenever she attends any protest, one of her sons accompanies her while the other stays at home to look after his father.
Head of the family being sick, the family has no other source of income. Recently Nafees had sold a plot and is somehow managing the household expenses from its savings. Her eldest son Mujeeb is in search of a job.
Apart from the mental stress of their financial condition, the family also faces the trauma of dealing with negative comments about Najeeb on social media. Najeeb’s brother Mujeeb Ahmad says he regularly comes across posts claiming that Najeeb has gone to Syria and joined ISIS. However police have denied such reports.
HT has quoted Mujeeb as saying “There is so much of slander on social media. People write posts and comment without any proof. It impacts us. I used to take screenshots and send it to the crime branch officials. But I never tell ammi (mom) about these comments.”
The family is also disappointed with the police and CBI probe. However Nafees refuses to give up. “I am hopeful my son will return someday. He may return tomorrow or ten years later, but he will. Every day I pray to God to keep him safe and healthy wherever he is,” Nafees says as she removes dust from Najeeb’s four year-old identity card from his college. She also makes it a point to wipe the dust off the books every day, hoping that someday her son will knock the door and surprise her by his appearance.