In the month of November 2017, there was a post on the social media about how a youth from Kashmir had been harassed by the Indian Army. It was a posting by Mannan Wani, the research scholar from the Aligarh Muslim University who is said to have joined the Hizbul Mujahideen somewhere in south Kashmir.
Wani had taken a break from the AMU a few days back. Days later, images of him holding an assault rifle surfaced.
Wani considered to be a brilliant student had won accolades for his paper on flood risk assessment. Wani was studying at the AMU's department of Geology for around 4 years. He had chosen to specialise in Applied Geology.
In his mid-twenties, he enrolled in the university's Ph.D programme. His decision has come as a shock for friends and family. One of his friends said that he always expected Wani to make it to the civil services. Another spoke about a paper that had won him the first prize at an international conference at Bhopal two years back.
Sources say that he may have joined the Hizbul Mujahideen. Although it is unclear why he took this drastic step, his friends and police sources say that he was upset about an incident in which he was harassed by the Indian Army. During one visit to Srinagar, he was stopped by the Army and allegedly harassed. He took to his Facebook page to recount the incident that took place on November 2017. He said that he was asked questions why he was sporting such long hair and why he did not trim his beard. In fact one officer also spoke about my resemblance to a commander of a terror group, he had recounted.
On this disgusting day, the best moment happened when I got a compliment from the Indian Army officer (who also checked my identity card, but spared me from getting down from the car) about my looks resembling the famous Commander, who has given them sleepless nights, and me passing a gentle smile without uttering a single word he had said.