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Kashmir: AMU scholar’s joining Hizb creates a flutter

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) research scholar Manan Bashir Wani joining militancy ranks has generated a widespread debate here with police launching a hunt to nab him and Hizbul-Mujahideen confirming that Wani has indeed joined the militant outfit. AMU has reportedly suspended the scholar after his picture went viral on the social media. A resident of Tekipora Lolab in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, 25-year-old Wani was pursuing doctorate in geology at AMU.

As Wani’s gun-wielding pictures went viral on social media, some defended his line while others felt he had chosen the wrong path. Several heated arguments could also be noticed on both sides of viewpoint. Furthermore, the media reports here quoted some people in Wani’s friend list on social networking site, Facebook, stating that almost a month ago he had posted about the alleged harassment faced at the hands of security forces. The incident, such comments said, had traumatized Wani.

According to Jammu and Kashmir police, Wani’s familyon January 7 approached police station Sogam after his photograph wielding a gun appeared on the social networking websites.Wani was scheduled to return home four days back, but instead his pictures showing him with an AK-47 reached the family, the police said, adding that efforts were on to trace and persuade him to return home. On the other side, Hizbul-Mujahideen spokesperson, Saleem Hashmi, while quoting its chief Syed Salahud-din on January 8 said that the scholar has joined the militant ranks and his entry was the negation to India’s propaganda which claims that youth are joining militant ranks because of unemployment and economic problem. “Form past several years, the educated youth joined Hizb to take the ongoing freedom movement to the logical conclusion,” he was reported as saying.

At least 2,729 youth were reportedly arrested and 129 others booked under Public Safety Act here in 2017 on charges of stone-pelting and participating in street protests, the police said. It had purchased 18,100 bullet-proof jackets, 550 vehicles and over 23,000 bullet-proof patkas (turbans) last year, reports added. However, Union Home Minister of State, Hansraj Ahir, in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, January 3, said that there is no presence of Islamic State (ISIS) or Taliban in Kashmir and only 10 militants are affiliated with Zakir Musa-led Ansar Ghazwatul Hind.

Pertinently, police had on January 7 said that those willing to quit militancy can now contact their families, return and start their lives afresh and that they do not need to necessarily surrender before police. The policy termed as “no surrender, no apprehension” is reportedly aimed to ensure “return of maximum youth who have picked up arms in the recent past.” The police has so far claimed that at least 10 youth who had joined militancy had returned to their homes, including a young footballer, Majid Khan from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

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