‘Prisoner of Paradise’ seeks solace in arms


Srinagar: Mannan Bashir Wani, who joined militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen on January 5, described himself as ‘Prisoner of Paradise’ on his Twitter handle. Though, the actual reasons of him joining the militant ranks has not come to fore, but a student of Aligarh Muslim University described Mannan as a person of good behaviour and character and the one who would actively take part in students union activities.

“He used to take part in student union elections actively and would usually support the candidates he felt would do best for the student community,” a student of Aligarh Muslim University said.

Wani, a resident of Takipora in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district was supposed to return home from Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh where he was enrolled as a scholar in the Department of Geology. Instead, he went missing and a few days later the family found the picture of their son wielding a gun-announcing his joining the militant outfit.

Mannan has become the first youth to join militancy in Kashmir this year. Last year, close to 150 locals youth joined different militant groups while over 210 militants, including foreigners, were killed in encounters with the government forces across the state.

Meanwhile, the Police said that they were looking for the PhD student and have launched a manhunt to trace him.

 “He was scheduled to return home four days back. But instead, his pictures showing him with an AK-47 reached the family,” a police officer said. The officer added that efforts were on to trace and persuade the young man to return home.

Mannan’s joining the militant outfit has created panic among the security establishment in the state as they were successful in perusing many youths to shun the path of militancy during the past few months.

Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen has confirmed that Mannan has joined the outfit and termed the decision as a good sign for the ongoing “freedom struggle.”

According to a statement by Hizb, its chief Syed Salahuddin said that that joining of militant outfit Hizb by a young and intelligent scholar who was studying in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) punctures the tall claims of the JK’s “puppet government” that youth were joining militancy because of unemployment and other family issues.

He said that truth stands proved now that it was because of the “forcible occupation” of India over Kashmir that youth were picking arms to fight against Indian rule.

Meanwhile, Aligarh Muslim University has suspended Mannan following reports of him joining Hizbul Mujahideen, the chief proctor of the institution said today.

Wani stands suspended until further probe is carried out into his disappearance and into social media photos that show him holding an AK-47 rifle, Prof. Mohammad Mohsin Khan, the proctor, said.

“There was no clue about his (alleged) activities. He was regular in the hostel and university (sic),” Prof. Khan added, even as police carried out searches on university premises in order to probe Wani’s disappearance.

Wani was pursuing his Ph.D at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. After completing his M.Phil in geology, he moved to Aligarh.

Wani’s father is a lecturer while his brother is an engineer.

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