While the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen Monday “welcomed Aligarh Muslim University’s Ph.D scholar, Mannan Bashir Wani,” in the organisation, the Jammu and Kashmir Police are yet confirm his joining .
Wani, 25, was pursuing a doctorate in Geology at the Aligarh Muslim University. He was scheduled to return home on January 5. However, he didn’t turn up and instead, his photo posing a grenade launcher-cum-assault rifle went viral on social media.
It has become a new patern of new militant recruits to release their photos brandishing AK-47 on social media sites.
“This is not my habit to issue a statement without verification. We are verifying the case. And once we have full information we will tell you. At present we cannot say anything,” inspector general of police Muneer Ahmad Khan told Outlook.
Senior superintendent police Kupwara Shamsher Hussain said: “Yesterday, the father of Wani came to the police station and stated that he had no contact with his son. We have no other inputs except that he has no contact with the family. We are verifying the case.”
Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported that social media and blog accounts show that the controversial encounter in Bhopal resulting in the death of eight undertrials, the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, and Hadiya’s conversion to Islam are themes that kept Wani occupied before he picked up the gun.
The last tweets of Wani, whose Facebook account is now suspended, are about the Hadiya case. He wrote: “Aren’t Females of India in their 20’s full citizens of this country equals before the law? #freeHadiya #BraveHadiya”. In another satirical post, he wrote: “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," added the newspaper.
According to the police sources he has left the AMU on January 3.
But the Hizb on the other hand described his “joining” as a good omen for the “ongoing Kashmir freedom struggle.”
In a statement issued to a local news gathering, CNS, the Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin said “joining of Mannan Bashir Wani exposes Indian propaganda that youth of Kashmir are joining militant ranks due to unemployment and economic distress.” Mannan hails from of Tekipora Lolab area of frontier Kupwara district.
“From years on educated and qualified youth of Kashmir have been joining Hizbul Mujahideen to take this ongoing freedom movement to logical conclusion. This spirit of youth is laudable,” Salahuddin said.
But his reported move to join militant ranks has shocked many. One Sajid Yousuf wrote on his Facebook wall: “PHD Scholar Manan Wani, Ex-navodian joined militant organization is really sad news for us all. He was very humble, cooperative and lovable person. But we can't deny the fact, why he joined the militant ranks. Before a month he was assaulted and dragged at five places by forces while he was on his way to home he even mentioned the whole story on his Facebook timeline. Brother Manan your pen was more powerful than this gun which you are holding right now.”
Another post by Sajad Farooq Rather’s FB post reads: “Manan Wani received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016..we r losing the talent.. May Almighty protect the Valley.”
The police apprehend that joining of Wani in the militant ranks could become a trend setter in north Kashmir which has not seen any significant militant recruitment in contrast to south Kashmir.
The development has taken place when the security agencies are urging the militants to return to their home and join the mainstream.
The AMU’ scholar’s reported move to join Hizb has evoked a debate about separatist organisations.
“Excuse my bluntness: Which new leaders, who are young and articulate have our Hurriyats produced since last 25 years. Had Hurriyats opened their doors to fresh faces, a PhD scholar who had a more powerful weapon with him in the shape of his pen and knowledge would never become a militant. It pains to see youth voluntarily becoming Cannon fodder”, wrote Mohammad Afaaq Sayeed, on Facebook.
“Our Hurriyats need to shun their insecurities and ego. They need to come out of their shells. Leadership is not their fiefdom. Those who are at the verge of becoming militants should be given another option and that option should be only in political struggle. But then our leaders can't afford to lose their perceived guardianship of the 'struggle' and 'sacrifice'. They perhaps need more sacrifices to stay relevant”, he said.
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