Baramulla/Aligarh (UP): The family of Manan Bashir Wani, 26, a PhD scholar expelled on Monday from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) following reports alleging he may have joined a militant group, has appealed to their son to return to their home in Tikipora of Lolab area in Kupwara district, even as a photograph of him holding an AK47 rifle has gone viral on social media sites that claim it shows he has joined militant ranks.
Although AMU is presently rife with the suspicion that the PhD scholar might have joined the militancy, police in Jammu and Kashmir said it was too early to confirm this. A police official said his last known location was Delhi a few days ago and they are ascertaining where he went after that.
Talking to reporters, Manan’s father, Bashir Ahmad Wani, a lecturer by profession, said his son took the decision without informing him and that it is “very painful news for me and for my family”.
“My son is a very talented boy and he was in the last year of his PhD degree in Aligrah Muslim University. I talked to him over the phone on January 3, and on that same day, at about 4:22 pm, he sent several messages to his younger sister in which he sent his several photographs. However from that time, we have no information about our beloved son, and his mobile phone is switched off. He doesn’t inform me before taking any decision, and it is very sad news for me and our family. We can’t believe it, it is sad,” Bashir said.
The Wani home was a scene of great grief with his mother and younger sister appealing to him to return as they wailed and beat their chests. “We have no need of his degree now,” they cried, “we want to see him home, we want his peaceful return.” Manan’s mother told reporters that, “We spent all our assets for the education of our children but we never expected him to take such a decision. He went to university last month on December 4 after he attended a wedding here but we never expected that he would join the militant ranks.”
“I did not expect that you will not complete your education; we were waiting for your degree,” Manan’s younger sister said amid heartbroken wails.
Relatives and neighbours of the Wani family said that Manan was known as a good boy in his area and that his father had spent a lot of money for his education. Manan was also deeply religiously, they said, but though he would sometimes talk about the ongoing Kashmir struggle, he never that he would one day join any militant ranks without completing his education. They said that Manan was among the three children of Bashir, with an elder brother is a junior engineer.
In Aligarh, a team of senior AMU officials sealed Manan’s room of Manan Bashir Wani, 26, immediately upon receiving a letter from the Superintendent of Police, Aligarh, regarding his alleged “nefarious” activities, university officials said.
A researcher in the Department of Geology, Manan was last present in his department on January 2, according to AMU officials, who said that he had left for his hometown shortly before the commencement of the winter vacations at AMU on January 6.
A senior AMU official said that prior to the police department’s letter, the university had not received any intimation from his family that he had not arrived home after leaving Aligarh.
Meanwhile, the 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 the university’s hostels.
The Proctor said nothing whatsoever suggesting that Wani was in any way involved in radical activities had come to their notice before. The inquiry committee would, however, fully probe this matter, he said.
Khan said that even before the incident came to light, the University Vice Chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, had issued a directive to the security staff to step up vigil on all entry and exit points of the university.
Checking the identity cards of all youths entering the campus and different hostels had also been intensified.
Khan said that the university authorities have also decided to conduct surprise checks in different hostels of the university during night hours to ensure that no external elements, including expelled students, were taking shelter in hostels in connivance with any of the residents.
A weekly check of all closed circuit TV video footage will henceforth be undertaken to keep a vigil.
Prof Shafey Kidwai, member incharge, public relations, and media advisor to the AMU vice-chancellor, said that the university s “zero tolerance” policy towards any anti-national activity on the campus was “very clear”.
“We have zero tolerance to any such activity and as far as we are concerned, we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to inculcate a sense of patriotism and commitment to the task of nation building.
“As a responsible institution of higher learning, we utilise every platform in the institution to promote the values of pluralism and tolerance in the institution,” he added.
—With inputs from PTI