NEW DELHI: The Vice Chancellor of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and other officials were allowed to leave their office after over 20 hours as they spent the night surrounded by hundreds of students protesting over missing student Najeeb Ahmed. The police have announced a reward of Rs. 50,000 for any information on Mr Ahmed.
“Illegally confining us is extremely deplorable,” Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, told NDTV on the phone from his office, where he had been virtually held hostage since Wednesday afternoon.
“We are doing everything we can to find Najeeb Ahmed…We are hoping he will come back to the university,” Mr Kumar said.
The protesters want the university to try harder to find Najeeb, who went missing after a brawl at his hostel on Friday night. Najeeb is a student of JNU’s School of Biotechnology.
The Left-linked All India Students Association has alleged that before he vanished, Mr Ahmed was beaten up by activists of the ABVP, which is linked to the ruling BJP.
Protests over his mystery disappearance escalated on Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of students demanded action and an assurance from Mr Kumar that enough was being done to look for Mr Ahmed.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said: “It is not right to hold officials hostage like this. It seems some students are in JNU only to do politics, not study.”
In a series of tweets overnight, the Vice Chancellor appealed to the students to stop blocking their exit and agree to a discussion.
Last night, the JNU Students’ Union president Mohit Sharma had said, “We have not illegally confined anybody. Electricity and all kind of supplies are here. We have also sent food for the people.”
Classes have been disrupted for three days over the protests at the prestigious university which has seen clashes this year over sedition charges against students including Kanhaiya Kumar.
On Tuesday, the missing student’s parents sat in protest near his hostel. They had come from Badaun in Uttar Pradeshi after a frantic phone call from their son on Friday night.