Srinagar: A research scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and a resident of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir, has joined the terror group Hizbul Mujahideen.
Police made the discovery after a photograph posted on social media, on Sunday, showed Mannan Bashir Wani holding what appeared to be an AK assault rifle, with a message claiming that he has joined militancy.
26-year-old Wani was pursuing his PhD on ‘Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir’. He had taken a break to go home, had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen on January 5.
Local media reports said his family filed a missing report after his photograph with the assault rifle emerged declaring that he had joined the terror group.
Wani joining the militant group is seen as a setback to government efforts to persuade young Kashmiris to give up violence and return to the mainstream.
Wani’s brother, Mubashir Ahmad, a junior engineer told The Indian Express: “We have also seen the picture on social networking sites. But we have no idea (whether he has joined militants or not). We lost contact with him on January 4 as his phone was switched off. We thought he had switched it off for some reason or lost it. As we couldn’t contact him, we lodged a missing report with police on Saturday.”
Wani’s brother added that his brother left home for Aligarh a month ago. “All this time, we thought he was in Aligarh. He would talk to us regularly. We don’t have any idea where he is,” he said.
Wani’s decision to drop out and join the Hizbul Mujahideen somewhere in south Kashmir has come as a huge surprise to his friends and acquaintances.
According to the AMU website, Wani had received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016. The site also states that he enrolled in AMU after doing his Bachelor’s in Geology and Earth Sciences from the University of Kashmir. He completed his Master’s and MPhil in Geology from AMU, it says.
Wani has also penned several articles on student politics on an online portal, thecompanion.com. Wani’s biographical sketch on the portal describes him as a research scholar at AMU who is a “student activist having interest in geopolitics and Islamic revivalist movements”....