AMU expels Kashmiri scholar with ‘Hizbul links’, family calls for his return

The Aligarh Muslim University suspended Mannan Bashir Wani, a research student, after a picture of him holding a grenade launcher was shared on social media following his disappearance on Jan 2.
Police and officials searching through items in Kashmiri scholar Mannan Bashir Wani’s hostel room in the varsity campus.(Mahipal Singh / HT)
Police and officials searching through items in Kashmiri scholar Mannan Bashir Wani’s hostel room in the varsity campus.(Mahipal Singh / HT)
Updated on Jan 09, 2018 09:42 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Aligarh/Srinagar | ByHT Correspondents, Aligarh/srinagar

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) suspended a Kashmiri research scholar on Monday and constituted an inquiry committee, following reports that he had joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen on January 5.

Mannan Bashir Wani, a research student of Applied Geology, was last seen on the campus on January 2. A missing person’s report was filed on January 5.

Following his disappearance, a picture of him holding a grenade launcher, was shared on social media. News reports said he had joined the Hizbul.

“We suspended him following reports that he had joined Hizbul Mujahideen. A committee will look into his activities — both in the department and outside,” Prof M Mohsin Khan, the varsity proctor, said, adding that vice-chancellor Prof Tariq Mansoor had taken a very serious view of the matter.

UP police sealed Wani’s room at Habib Hall after recovered literature from it, in the presence of the proctor.

Later, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajesh Pandey told media persons, “The literature found in room no 237 (of Habib Hall, AMU) has been seized for further investigation. University proctor and other officials were present during the raid.”

“Police and intelligence agencies have been scrutinising Wani’s activities and his contacts in Aligarh,” senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajesh Pandey said.

Stating that the matter was related to national security, SP (city) Atul Srivastva said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) were investigating it. “The Aligarh police will cooperate with them and report to them,” he said.

Police is also trying to determine the authenticity of the photograph shared on social media.

Family Shocked, Wants Him To Return

Wani hails from Lolab area of Kupwara district in north Kashmir.

Kashmir police said they have not yet ascertained whether he has joined Hizbul.

“His father came and informed the police. He was in Aligarh and then disappeared. We also know of some photo being shared on social media, and we are investigating the matter,” a senior police officer said.

Wani’s family has said that he had last left home a month ago for Aligarh and then disappeared.

Mubashir Wani, brother of Mannan and a government engineer, told HT that the entire family is in a state of shock. “We will be glad if he returns.”

“All we want now is for him to come back,” his mother is seen wailing in a video clip that surfaced on Monday.

In a video uploaded on local news platforms, Mannan’s father Bashir Wani is seen saying, “He is a mature person and I was never expecting this from him. If he has any issues, he could have addressed it some other way. I have no words to express what we are going through.”

His reported joining militancy comes at a time when the Jammu and Kashmir police are encouraging local militants to shun the gun and return home.

Was Awarded For Flood Risk Assessment

Wani was awarded the ‘Best Paper Presentation Award’ in an International Conference on ‘Water, Environment, Energy and Society’ (ICWEES) held at AISECT University, Bhopal in 2016.

The award, AMU’s website says, was conferred to Wani for his paper ‘Flood Risk Assessment of Lolab Valley from Watershed Analysis Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques’.

Wani, had via social media and blogs, raised voice on issues such as the opposition to Kerala woman Hadiya’s conversion to Islam and her marriage to a Muslim, demonetisation, the case of missing JNU scholar Najeeb Ahmed, and the encounter killing of eight alleged SIMI activists in Bhopal.

He also raised issues of killings of hundreds of Kashmiris every year and had criticised moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for his statements against the hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Kashmiri social media circles were abuzz discussing how a research scholar from a reputed university ended up joining the militant ranks and users are sharing his Twitter posts and blog posts.

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