Delhi HC Directs Media To Remove News Reports Linking JNU Student Najeeb Ahmed To ISIS
Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked news platforms to withdraw all news reports and videos linking Najeeb Ahmed to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist organisation. Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year MSc student at the School of Biotechnology in JNU, went missing two years back. He was 27-yr-old then. The order came days after it allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to submit a closure report in his missing case.
According to reports, Najeeb had gotten into an alleged scuffle with three members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) outside his room at the Mahi-Mandvi Hostel. It has been alleged that he was kidnapped by ABVP members. ABVP has, however, denied any involvement in his disappearance.
Responding to the defamation suit filed by Fatima Nafees, Najeeb’s mother, the court gave the direction to the media houses on October 10. Fatima in her defamation suit has stated that after Najeeb went missing many news reports and videos defamed her son. The lawsuit is filed against renowned media houses like TheTimes of India, Times Now, Dilli Aajtak and also against reporters of the India Today group. In the suit, she is seeking an apology as well as damage worth Rs 2.2 crore for defaming Najeeb. His mother said that even the Delhi police in their investigation had not said that he is linked to the ISIS.
The next hearing in the matter is on October 29. The court will then take up the next plea filed my Najeeb’s mother seeking apologies from the media houses.
National media house tried to link him with ISIS
On March 21, 2017, The Times of India carried a front-page report by journalist Raj Shekhar Jha which claimed that an analysis of Ahmad’s laptop revealed he was browsing information on how to join ISIS a day before he went missing. The report claimed that Najeeb’s browsing history showed that Najeeb was looking for information on ISIS’s “ideology, execution, and network,” and also “ways to join ISIS.” The article further claimed that the report of Najeeb internet browsing history was accessed by the Delhi police.
The article was soon picked by other media houses including Times Now and according to the defamation suit the channel on the screen played a line “Najeeb searched for information on ISIS”. The channel did not even confirm the charges with the Delhi police whose officials later denied having any such browsing history report.
On March 22, 2016, the Times of India published another story in which it mentioned a comment by Delhi police denying having any such information on Najeeb internet browsing history. The Times of India original story is still on their official site.
Closure of the case
On Monday, the Delhi High Court allowed CBI to file its closure report. On May 16, 2017, the CBI took over the case after more than a year of Najeeb’s missing. The CBI says that it has looked into all the angles of the case and after the investigation, it is of the opinion that no offence was committed against the missing student.