Scholar in militant ranks
Manan Bashir Wani who has reportedly joined militant ranks was pursuing PhD at Aligarh Muslim University
In a major setback to efforts of security agencies to keep educated youth away from militancy, a scholar studying at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has become the latest entrant in militant ranks and has send shocking waves among his friends. The development came to fore after a photo surfaced on social media, showing Manan Bashir Wani armed with an automatic rifle, declaring to have joined Hizbul Mujahideen outfit.
Mannan, 25, of Takipora village in Lolab, Kupwara, was pursuing a doctorate in Geology at AMU. So far there has been no confirmation from police about Manna joing the militant ranks. Talking to media the Inspector General of Police had said the force could not confirm whether Wani had indeed joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and had expressed caution, saying the photos in question could be photoshopped. His father, Bashir Ahmed, is a lecturer while his brother is working as a junior engineer in the government. Mannan had been a student at AMU for over four years, “He was a timid boy. But an event last year when he was harassed by security forces transformed him. Our whole family is in a shock,” Bashir told meida. The incident took place in November 2017 when the youngster was on way to Srinagar from his home and it was described in a Facebook status by Mannan himself. In the post, Mannan said the car was stopped four times and he had to get down and prove his identity every time. “The most disgusting thing was when an ordinary SOG personnel donning black uniform posed questions like, why had I grown such long hair, why didn’t I trim my beard if intend to look smart, why do I wear long boots, why do I wear a shawl in such a young age?” His decision to join militancy left people shocked. “Brother Manan your pen was more powerful than this gun which you are holding right now. I always admire you as my brother and I still remember when you met me last time you told me Sajid You are doing a superb job, keep writing and do good in politics you can bring the change. We need people like you but today you yourself dropped the pen which makes me totally upset since last night when I heard the news about you. Brother, please come back I promise we will together bring the change with a pen. Our pen is more powerful than gun and sword,” one wrote on facebook.
The AMU’s official website states that Wani, 26, was pursuing a PhD on “Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir”. According to the website, he received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016. Last year, The Indian Express reported that from a 15-year-old school student to graduates, post-graduates, techies, an M Phil degree holder and even a doctorate had joined militancy ranks in the Valley, fuelled by the life and death of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani. According to data compiled by security agencies, around 90 local recruits have joined the militancy in the Valley since Wani’s killing in an encounter last July. What’s striking is the educational profile of these recruits. Apart from a PhD, an M Phil and two post-graduates, there are six graduates and five who were pursuing engineering and technical courses: two B Tech, one BE (Computer Science), one Polytechnic student and one diploma student in computer science. Mannan was very active in campus politics. He had also come to Delhi recently from his University to lend support to the campaign for seeking whereabouts of the missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, “And also I believe, protest March or Sit-ins are only successful when all forms of protest are made simultaneously by people in their own capacities. We can neither expect everyone to come on roads and walk three or four kilometers on foot or lay on ground for days nor can we expect everyone to write long pieces, but, we can at least expect it from everyone to remain protesting for any genuine cause, until the justice is not delivered, in any form which he/she deems suitable and possible,” he wrote in his blog post.
As police is still tightlipped about Mannan the UJC has confirmed him joining the militant ranks. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) scholar Mannan has joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, the group’s Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin said in a statement to local media. “From years on, educated and qualified youths of Kashmir have been joining Hizbul Mujahideen to take this ongoing freedom movement to logical conclusion. This spirit of youths is laudable,” Salahuddin said in the statement in Urdu. Wani’s brother said that he had left his 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. His sudden disappearance has left behind several unanswered questions. Through media, his mother Shameema Begum made a fervent appeal, urging her son to return: “I am waiting for him. I want him to return home. Our blood and sweat has gone into bringing him up; I appeal everyone to bring my son back”.
“I have not only lost my precious son but have also lost a friend and a confidant. All I have now is a faint ray of hope that he might return. He is a mature person and I never expected this from him. If he had any issues, they could have been addressed in some way. I have no words to express what we are going through right now,” Mannan’s father told media. His friend from AMU says he was quite well-known and a respected figure among students. “He was not only intelligent but often highlighted several issues being faced by the students inside the varsity,” said one of his friends on condition of anonymity. Though his friends say they can’t figure out what prompted Mannan to choose this path, they do admit that he had concerns regarding the situation in his homeland. Following news reports about Mannan joining the Hizbul the concerned authorities at the AMU have expelled him and set up an inquiry commission. His hostel room has also been sealed.
Blurbs: The AMU’s official website states that Wani, 26, was pursuing a PhD on “Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir”. According to the website, he received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016
As police is still tightlipped about Mannan the UJC has confirmed him joining the militant ranks. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) scholar Mannan has joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, the group’s Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin said in a statement to local media