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Dear Vivek Agnihotri, let's be clear: JNU's Najeeb Ahmad going missing is not a film script

In an extremely journalistic piece, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri blamed the disappearance of Najeeb — the student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) —on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and called it a larger conspiracy to overthrow the Narendra Modi government.

He has got ‘facts’ to back his argument which only God could have whispered into his ears because nobody else, let alone in the JNU, is aware of these 'facts'. For lesser mortals like me and other readers I would like to counter his heavenly ‘facts’ with earthly ones.

Agnihotri argues that JNUSU is being controlled by the students wings of CPI(M) and CPI(M-L). "These are the same parties which are the strategic forces behind the Naxal/Maoist movement." One should be aware that the Communist movement has many internal contradictions and not every party with a name communist in it shares its whole interest with the other such outfit. Politically-aware readers might remember that Maoists sided with the Trinmool Congress in order to overthrow CPI(M)-led Left government in West Bengal.

I hope Agnihotri starts reading newspapers too and stops relying fiction like he has written in his article:

"These are the same parties which are the strategic forces behind the Naxal/Maoist movement in India which alone is responsible for the loss of over 13,000 innocent lives in India. This is more than the killing of innocent people and soldiers in the insurgent Kashmir and North East."

Kashmir alone has seen around 100,000 civilian deaths since late 1980s.

Now, coming to the 14 October incident, Agnihotri has written a good story but it is important for him to remember that it is not one of the scripts of his movies. At the very outset, one should understand that the whole incident is being investigated by the Delhi Police as well as the University Proctor. Since matter is subjudice, comments should be made very carefully about the case.

Only Najeeb or Vikrant and his two friends can tell what happened inside that room that night. While Vikrant’s version of the story can be confirmed through him and his friends other party in the case is still missing. Vikrant and his two other friends who were in that room came out with a public pamphlet on 23 October, eight days after Najeeb went missing, where they levelled a few charges against him. What the pamphlet claimed is that Najeeb slapped Vikrant ‘twice’ in an unprovoked manner and later pointed towards his wrist and asked that why did you wear this. Truth in this story is under investigation and a student is still missing. This pamphlet while gives us a description of what happened in that room it does not corroborate the "fact" any sort of "violence" perpetuated upon Najeeb.

 Dear Vivek Agnihotri, lets be clear: JNUs Najeeb Ahmad going missing is not a film script

Agnihotri's article on Najeeb Ahmed has nothing to do with facts. Image courtesy: News18

While there are no other witnesses to this incident, there are many who witnessed the violence against Najeeb. According to witnesses, he was beaten in the corridor, at the stairs and even in presence of the warden of the hostel.

Agnihotri, you have extrapolated the accusations levelled by one party in this case and totally ignored the other side of the story. Not just that, but Agnihotri's article does not even honestly narrate Vikrant's version.

Agnihotri's article is not only not factual, it also makes sweeping statements about many things without really getting a good grip of his subject. While Agnihotri, in his article, sympathises with the turn of events and mentions that students like Najeeb are the future of the nation, he suddenly shifts gears and claims that the case of the missing student is part of the larger conspiracy by Left parties who are conspiring to overthrow the Modi government.

Fact: Left parties are fighting for their own existence.

By which stretch of imagination are the Left parties, the power-players in the Indian political arena? And the idea that "political parties pushing their own agenda" and "Opposition is bad-mouthing the ruling party" has no novelty to it.

Jumping from one assumption to another — that's how Agnihotri's article reads. Moving further, Agnihotri writes:

Soon, Bapsa began putting up posters on campus glorifying ‘Dalit-Muslim’ unity and presented Najeeb as a victim of Hindu oppression. They attacked ABVP, BJP and RSS. The posters screamed of Brahminism (a very old and stale plank of the Leftists). The posters mentioned the Una incident to underline their narrative. The tactics used during the Umar Khalid episode in February and later Rohit Vemula episode, start repeating again. Another poster by the SIO screamed, 'Violence against Muslims can be seen as a common denominator of Indian social existence'. It seems these parties have already assumed that Najeeb is a victim of communal politics. How can they assume this? Or is it that they know the plot? Who is the author of this script? Why is this similar to the earlier Umar and Rohit scripts?

We don't know where Agnihotri is getting these newsbits, but as far as official sources are concerned, no parties have come out with any poster. Bapsa and NSUI did, but after 23 October. JNUSU also did not come out with any pamphlet or poster till that day. Yes, ABVP of course has pasted a number of posters in order to try to shift complete blame on Najeeb.

Agnihotri has written a great piece and I hope that one day he makes another movie with this script.

Author is a research scholar of Modern History at JNU, New Delhi and inmate of the same hostel where Najeeb and Vikrant resides

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Updated Date: Oct 26, 2016 15:03:46 IST

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