Shahira and Fatima Nafees in Mumbai on January 12
The brazen and brutal violence unleashed on our sons has rid us of any fear, dared Shahira and Fatima Nafees mothers of two sons, one dead and the other missing, both victims of the hate-letting unleashed under the current regime. Speaking at a meeting at Haj House in Mumbai on Saturday, both women dared the prime minister with his claim of a 56-inch chest! Why does he not have the moral courage to look us in the eye, meet our demands. ensure that the guilty are brought to book, they demanded?
Nafees' son , 27 year old Najeeb has been missing since October 2016 after an alleged assault by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at the Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) in Delhi. JNU is a university under attack for its radical and liberal values by the Modi regime since Feburary 2016. The ABVP is a wing of the far right Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological fountainhead of the NDA II regime. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) finally closed the case in October 2018. Nafees is planning to challenge the closure in a protest petition soon. It is believed that top level functionaries of the Modi have been protecting the nine accused in the case. These nine have not ven been questioned by the CBI. The CBI itself is under a cloud after brazen interference in its functioning by the prime minister's office (PMO).
"I dare the primine minister to meet us, look me in the eye and say no wrong was done to my son. This regime that is fuelled on hate and violence will not come back to power. The 56 inch chest will deflate," Fatima said. Hailing from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, Fatima spoke of the hardships involved in the struggle for justice, the delays, the callous attitudes of the law enforcement agencies amd even the courts.
Junaid, a 16 year old from Faridabad was literally beaten or lynched to death in June 2017 when on a Delhi Mathura train returning home with his two brothers after Eid shopping. While Junaid tragically died his brothers were seriously injured in the assault that was clearly communal, with vile abuse being flung at the boys and their beards being pulled. Junaid's tragic death had resulted in a nationwide outrage of anger and protest. Sabrangindia had been the most prompt to report on this tragic death after the CPIM in a rare and prompt move had moved on the issue. The #NotInMyName Protests after Junaid's killing had showed some resistance to the repeated violence against minorities that has been a hallmark of this regime.
The dimunitive Shahira, mother of Junaid who also spoke in Mumbai yesterday was scathing of the state of affairs related to the case in her son's mother. " The FIR itself has not included the crucial sections of section 302 and 307 (murder and attempt to murder), she said. Six of the accused have been let off by the courts on bail. There is talk of the main accused standing for the coming elections. We need to speak out. There should be no question of feeling afraid. My son's death has killed the fear in me," she said.
A Noida based businessman, Amit Jani has floated an outfit called the Uttar Pradesh Navnirmal Sena and has announced that Naresh Kumar, the main accused in the killing of Junaid will contest the elections. He has also reportedly stated that all those accused of killing Muslims should fight the elections.
Both Shahira and Fatima stressed the need of educating Muslim, Dalit and Bahujan youth so that young persons make it to top positions and ensure both representation and justice for the marginalised. "I was not educated and my husband is a carpenter. But apart from Najeeb my other sons too are post graduates and my daughter, too is studying," she said.
Fahad Ahmad from TISS also spoke on the occasion. Teesta Setalvad, co editor of Sabrangindia and secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace, spoke of the emergent opposition to this repressive regime. " It is the youth like Rohith Vemula, Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumat and survivors like Shahira and Fatima Nafees who have emerged as the strong voice of resistance and opposition to this regime," she said.
1. How India Unleashes Violence Against Mothers The unending struggles of Fatima Nafees and Radhika Vemula