Kin claims ‘missing’ roommate of AMU-scholar-turned-terrorist is not missing at all

On Monday we had reported how Mannan Wani, a ‘research scholar’ from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), hailing from Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir has allegedly gone on to join terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen. In a photograph that went viral on social media, Wani was holding a gun, displayed a message that ‘Mannan Wani, son of Bashir Ahmed Wani, joined Mujahideen on January 5’. Hizbul later is reported to have ‘confirmed‘ Wani joining them.

Wani at AMU was pursuing a PhD in ‘Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir’. But he since then has decided to break the structures of Kashmir by joining the Mujahideen, and has even been compared to slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.

After the whole story blew up, the AMU administration proceeded to expel him. The Uttar Pradesh police conducted raids in the campus and it is believed that suspicious material has been found from in Wani’s room. The recovered materials include books, photocopies, and pen drives. The AMU administration in its capacity has launched an inquiry in this matter and has also proceeded to tighten the security its hostels.

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Following this development, Times of India reported that Wani’s roommate had also gone missing and the said roommate was now being investigated. Times of India had also named the roommate. At least four other mainstream media organizations — Financial Express, NewsX, ABP News, and Firstpost — also published this report and name of the allegedly missing roommate with ABP putting the name of the ‘missing roommate’ in the headline. Times of India later removed the name while other media organizations were still carrying his name at the time we updated this report.

After the same information was put up by us at OpIndia.com, we got a message from a person introducing himself as the brother of the ‘missing roommate’ for a clarification. The person requested us to remove the name of the brother as this whole information about him “missing” after Wani joined Hizbul Mujahideen was false.

The person told us that his brother named in media reports was indeed Wani’s roommate for approximately 10 months during 2015-2016, but he left AMU way back in September 2016 itself. His brother i.e. the ‘missing roommate’ was called up for a job at a reputed corporation in Maharashtra. At which point, he discontinued his PhD and chose to go for the job. His brother told us that he joined his job on October in 2016.

The person, requesting us to remove his brother’s name from our report, further told us that his brother had not travelled to Aligarh much after having left the AMU campus. He said that his brother’s name being mentioned in such media reports would jeopardize his career as he will be seen as a terror suspect.

Although the media report quote police officers about the roommate being missing, we believe that it could as well be a case of communication gap between the student and AMU, where the records of the university still show him a student at the university while in reality the student has dropped out of the course.

In wake of this, we are removing the name of the ‘missing roommate’ in deference to the family’s request (an earlier version of this report by us had his name mentioned, as carried by other media houses) and hope that the university and the police can officially clarify that the said roommate is innocent and not under radar for any investigations.

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