Aligarh Muslim University research scholar Mannan Basheer Wani has joined terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen. A research scholar choosing terrorism over peace has come as a shock for many, including his family and the residents of AMU. On Monday, Wani, who hails from Kupwara of north Kashmir, was expelled by AMU authorities. The step was taken after his photo appeared in the social media showing him with an AK-47 rifle. AMU officials also sealed the room of Wani, 26, after they received a letter from the Superintendent of Police, Aligarh regarding the alleged “nefarious” activities of the student, university officials said.
Wani is son of Bashir Ahmad Wani. He was pursuing his PhD in applied geology at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Wani’s brother Mubashir Ahmad, who is a junior engineer, had told The Indian Express that his family had seen the photograph but they had no idea if he had joined Hizbul. Mubashir said Wani’s phone was switched off from January 4 and the family had lost all contacts with him. The family had also lodged a missing report with the police on Saturday last.
Wani was last present in his department on January 2, according to AMU officials. They said that university has started a probe into the matter and intensified security checks including in all its hostels in view of the incident. Wani had left for his hometown shortly before the commencement of the winter vacations at AMU on January 6. Before police’s letter, the varsity had not received any intimation from Wani’s family that he had not arrived at his home after leaving Aligarh.
Hizbul Mujahideen celebrates
Wani’s decision to join Hizbul has been celebrated by the banned outfit’s chief Syed Salahuddin. In a statement, Salahuddin said, “It is a negation to India’s propaganda that youth are joining militant ranks because of unemployment and economic problems. Educated youth are joining Hizb to take the freedom movement forward.”
While Salahuddin is celebrating, Wani’s family are in tears. His mother Shameema was on Tuesday quoted as saying by NDTV.com, “My Manan… your mother is crying, please come back. Come and see the condition of your sister. Come back for the sake of your sister Asifa. You always stood by her.”
Jammu and Kashmir police had earlier said it was too early to confirm if Wani had joined militancy. A police official said Wani’s last known location was Delhi a few days earlier and they were ascertaining where he went after that.
Probe at AMU
On Monday, AMU Proctor, Professor Mohsin Khan, told PTI that the University had set “up a comprehensive inquiry into the entire matter” and is also taking further necessary steps for beefing up security in hostels of the university.
The proctor further said nothing suggesting that Wani was in any way involved in radical activities had come to their notice before this episode. The inquiry committee would, however, fully probe this matter, he said.
While AMU has intensified security checks in the varsity, Times of India today reported that Wani’s roommate at AMU, Muzzamil Hussain, is also missing since July 2017. According to the daily, the UP Anti-Terrorism Squad had launched a probe on Monday and the investigators also seized some “suspicious” material from Wani’s hostel room.
What occupied Wani before he picked up the gun
Before picking up the gun, Wani’s mind was apparently occupied by incidents like the encounter of eight undertrials in Bhopal, the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed and Hadiya’s conversion to Islam in Kerala.
Wani’s Facebook account has been suspended. He had last tweeted about Hadiya case. “Aren’t Females of India in their 20’s full citizens of this country equals before the law? #freeHadiya #BraveHadiya”.
“In India, At the age of 18 One can choose his/her PM but can’t chose her religion, Why? Becoz, Islam is Terrorism. #BravaHadiya #Muslims,” Wani said in another tweet.
In some other tweets, Wani was critical of Indian security forces. “On an average one Kashmiri gets killed every day- Genocide is already going on. Where are we heading? #KashmirBleeds #Martyrs”, Wani had tweeted in March last.
The official website of AMU says that 26-year-old Mannan was pursuing a PhD on ‘Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir’. Mannan had also received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016, according to the AMU website.
“Mr Mannan Bashir Wani, Research Scholar at Department of Geology, Aligarh Muslim University has been awarded the ‘Best Paper Presentation Award’ in an International Conference on ‘Water, Environment, Energy and Society’ (ICWEES) held at AISECT University, Bhopal.The award was conferred to Mr Wani for his paper ‘Flood Risk Assessment of Lolab Valley from Watershed Analysis Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques’,” says AMU Website.
“Around 400 delegates from 20 different countries including the USA, Austria, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, Iran, Italy, UK, Bangladesh, China, South Korea, Singapore, Kuwait, Tunisia, Malaysia, West Indies, Brazil and Yemen had participated in the Conference to present their research papers,” it adds.
Will Wani return?
Last year, over 100 young Kashmiri men were believed to have joined terror outfits. However, 10 of them gave up militancy in the last few months in the wake of the return of footballer Majid Khan, who had responded to an emotional appeal by his mother. Will Wani listen to the emotional appeal of his mother?