New Delhi: Even before the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) could tackle the case of a student missing for more than two weeks, it got another problem on its hands. On 25 October, Jatung Philemon Raja, a PhD student, was found dead in his hostel room.
Friends of Jatung said he was suffering from a liver disease and was regularly visiting the doctor. He had not been seen around for three days till his body was found in his room.
Jatung, a native of Manipur’s Senapati district, was a resident of Brahmaputra Hostel in room 171. Investigation has just started in his case and the post-mortem report is still not out.
The death comes about two weeks after Najeeb Ahmed went missing from the campus leading to speculations ranging from threats to abduction by ‘right wing groups’. Ahmed, a MsC Biotech student, had joined JNU in June.
Najeeb’s close friends said he was beaten up in his hostel by some ABVP members a day before he went missing. The police are investigating the matter, but evidently not taking it as seriously as the February case of ‘sedition.’
THAT MONTH, THIS YEAR
Ever Since February a tempest seems to have struck JNU and has shown no signs of abating. One blow after another, the university is dealing with crisis after crisis.
It all started with a cultural programme organise by the members of JNU’s student’s organisation Democratic Students Union to protest against the “Judicial Killing of Afzal Guru” and displayed their solidarity with Kashmiri migrants. Things went downhill after that.
Here’s a short timeline of what happened ever since:
After the cultural program was organised, BJP MP Mahesh Giri lodged an FIR stating that ‘anti-national’ activities had been conducted by students of JNU.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also warned of the”strongest possible” action against those involved in the cultural program and sloganeering. In an interview he made it clear that such ‘activites’ will not be tolerated.
The Delhi Police eventually arrested president of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s students union (JNUSU) and a member of the student organisation of All India Student’s Federation (AISF) Kanhaiya Kumar, along with four others, in a case of sedition and criminal conspiracy.
Eventually, eight students were debarred from academic activities by JNU following a disciplinary inquiry into the event.
After much protest, demonstrations and political mudslinging between BJP, AAP, Congress and the Left, in August, Kanhaiya along with two others, received bail and were allowed to go, but with some harsh imposing conditions.
The political environment on campus has remained heated ever since.
THE MISSING STUDENT
Najeeb’s incident has many stories. According to a few student witnesses, around 20-30 people beat up Najeeb on 14 October night. According to the hostel warden, Najeeb had started the fight which led to around 15 students beating him up. Najeeb went missing on 15 October and there is still no sign of him.
Parties on campus stand divided on on Najeeb’s disappearance. While AISF strongly believes that it is a case of abduction, other left parties feel that Najeeb left because he felt threatened by the ABVP.
ABVP, on the other hand, believe they had nothing to do with Najeeb’s disappearance and in fact have accused him of ‘inciting religious violence in the hostel’.
JNUSU students were also joined by the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) during their protests demanding action be taken against those who threatened and beat up Najeeb.
Birsa Ambedkar Phule Student’s Association or BAPSA, on the other hand, began putting up posters declaring Najeeb as a victim of Hindu oppression. They attacked the ABVP, BJP, and the RSS. The posters mentioned the Una incident and connected that with Najeeb’s disappearance.
While it is believed that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor and the President of India are aware of Najeeb’s disappearance, the police are still clueless about Najeeb’s whereabouts.
With the police unable to trace Najeeb and Jatung’s death still remaining a mystery, there seems to be no end to JNU’s troubles.