New Delhi: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student Ashraf Ali who went missing two weeks ago and was found in Delhi’s Jama Masjid area Wednesday has been suffering from depression, his family members and police said.
According to the police and family, Ali underwent treatment in 2019.
Speaking to ThePrint, Aligrah (city) Superintendent of Police, Kuldeep Singh Gunawat, said, “The boy was traced to Delhi after which we sent a team of officers there. On Sunday night, he had also made an ATM transaction in Ghazipur area, after which we started searches in the region. His posters were put across stations and localities.
“We were informed at 10 pm Wednesday night that his cousin who stays in the Jama Masjid locality has found him. He revealed that the reason behind his disappearance is his depression and that he has been struggling to deal with it. He was undergoing treatment for it,” the SP said.
The SP added that Ali is unhurt and is staying with his family members.
Ali suffering from insomnia, depression
Ali, a resident of Bihar’s Araria, is a final year student of BA (Spanish) at the Aligarh Muslim University. He had gone missing from the university campus on 23 February. His disappearance led to protests there by students, who urged the authorities to take immediate action and locate him.
Many students also likened his disappearance to that of Najeeb Ahmed, the JNU student who has been missing since 2016. AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi had also urged the Uttar Pradesh Police to take action to trace Ali.
Ali’s roommate Nadeem Akhtar, who also hails from Bihar and has known him since 2012 said, “He didn’t tell any of his friends, including me, about his intentions. However, when the police searched his locker, they found a card of the place where he had gone for treatment in 2019 in Aligarh itself. I had informed IG Aligarh that Ashraf was having trouble sleeping and would often complain about it. We had accompanied him for treatment at the psychiatrist in 2019.
“Ali would often talk of doing a course in a Vipassana centre, a Buddhist meditation centre but he didn’t go there. Initially, we had looked at all nearby centres,” Akhtar said.
Ali’s elder brother Mohammed Ayaz said he had seen a psychiatrist in Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, AMU, in 2019. “He was under treatment for six months, after which he said he has recovered and is fine. Unlike last time, he didn’t inform us of his insomnia and depression. My family is in a state of shock now, we will take him back home, Bihar in a few days.”
Ayaz added that this is the first time that his parents have come to know of his mental health problems.
“He was supposed to go to Patna on 28 February… None of us expected him to go away like this, we are thankful that he is unharmed and didn’t do anything absurd,” he said.
According to both Ayaz and Nadeem, Ashraf’s condition seems to have deteriorated and he “doesn’t look like himself” anymore.
“He is under extreme stress, has been sleeping from the time we found him and isn’t speaking much,” Ayaz said.