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The photograph of Mannan Wani, which was shared on Facebook and WhatsApp, showed a text, which states that he had joined the militant group hizbul mujahideen on January 5.

Amid escalating threats of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Mannan Wani, a research scholar of the Aligarh Muslim University and a resident of Kupwara district of Kashmir, is suspected to have joined the Huizbul Mujahideen terror outfit.

Reportedly, the PhD student, who disappeared last week, appeared in a photograph, posted on social networking platforms, holding an under barrel grenade launcher. The photograph of Wani, which was shared on Facebook and WhatsApp, also showed a text, which states that the research scholar of AMU has joined the militant group on January 5.

Following reports of the student taking up arms, the chief proctor of the Aligarh Muslim University said on Monday that Wani has been suspended until further probe is carried out into his disappearance and the photos shared on social media.

While the police on Monday carried out searches at the premises of the university, Professor Mohammed Mohsin Khan said, “There was no clue about his (alleged) activities. He was regular in the hostel and university.”

Wani, who was supposed to return home last week, couldn’t be traced since January 3 and his last known location was New Delhi. However, the Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir said that the security forces couldn’t confirm whether the research scholar has actually joined militancy or whether the photograph on social media sites is doctored.

As reported by The Indian Express, Wani’s brother – Mubashir Ahmad, a junior engineer – was quoted as saying, “We have also seen the picture on social networking sites. But we have no idea (whether he has joined militants or not). We lost contact with him on January 4 as his phone was switched off. We thought he had switched it off for some reason or lost it. As we couldn’t contact him, we lodged a missing report with police on Saturday.”

The official website of AMU states that 26-year-old Wani was pursuing PhD on Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir’ and has been awarded for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016.

“All this time, we thought he was in Aligarh. He would talk to us regularly. We don’t have any idea where he is,” said Wani’s brother.

Wani has also published several articles on student politics on an online portal – thecompanion.com. The PhD student’s biographical sketch at the website states that Wani is a research scholar at AMU who is a “student activist having interest in geopolitics and Islamic revivalist movements”.

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