Mannan Bashir Wani, scholar turned militant, a native of Lolab area in district Kupwara, joined the militant ranks in January 2018. Manan according to top police was killed in a gunfight with the government forces in Handwara of North Kashmir today on October, 11.
Manan was a resident of village Tikipora in Kupwara’s Sogam, some 125 kilometres from capital city Srinagar. His father Bashir Ahmad Wani is an Urdu lecturer. His elder brother is a junior engineer.
Manan had been a meritorious student since school. He studied at Navodaya Vidyalaya in Kupwara and Ganderbal, and later secured admission in an engineering college, which he left after a few days to pursue Bachelors in Science at Amar Singh College Srinagar. It was while there, Mubashir said, that Manan faced the first harassment at the hands of government forces. It was the year 2010.
“Manan told me he was coming back after attending the NCC parade when government forces grabbed him in Batamaloo area, taking him for a stone-pelter. Even after repeating that ‘I am not a stone pelter’, they didn’t listen to him and beat him,” Mubashir said while talking to a local daily newspaper Kashmir Reader.
Mubashir said that Manan would take his decisions himself but he would first share it with family members. If they were not convinced, he would give strong and logical reasons to support his decision and the family would end up agreeing with him “every time”.
“That’s why, even after being selected for MSc Geology in Kashmir University, he turned it down after a few months and went to AMU in 2011, where he completed his PG as well as MPhil. He was now pursuing PhD in Structural Morphology (Geology),” Mubashir said.
Mubashir recalled an incident of harassment at home, when Manan had come on a holiday.
“It was Eid. We two were sitting in our lawn in the late afternoon when the army came and asked, ‘Who is this boy?’ I told them he is my younger brother and studies outside the state. He was asked to visit the army camp the next day, which he did. He was released after half an hour of investigation,” Mubashir said.
Because of spending most of his life studying away from home, Mubashir said, Manan had a different lifestyle, and an appearance that would often land him in trouble. “He would sport long hair with a small beard, a shawl around his neck and wear long boots,” Mubashir said. In November 2017, he said,
Manan had visited home to attend his elder brother’s marriage. One day he travelled to Srinagar for some work and when he returned, the family was surprised to see that he had cut his hair.
“When we asked the reason, he recounted the extreme level of humiliation he had faced while travelling to Srinagar,” Mubashir said. “He said he was made to get down from the Sumo taxi five times, just to prove his identity and justify his looks. He was even tagged as a militant commander at one place in Baramulla district, because of his looks. So, after reaching Srinagar, the first thing he did was to have his hair cut,” Mubashir recounted.
“He was furious and depressed. It was at that time that Manan posted on his Facebook wall, ‘Worst kind of Slavery’,” Mubashir said.
Manan had gone back to AMU last month. On January 4 he sent pictures of the convocation ceremony. After that, Mubashir said, his phone became switched off.
26-year old, Manan was an AMU research scholar before joining militant ranks.
On January 5, 2018, a photograph of Manan appeared on the social media on in which he was seen holding an under barrel grenade launcher.
Mannan was pursuing his PhD in applied geology at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Mannan’s brother Mubashir Ahmad, who is a junior engineer said that the family lodged a missing report with the police after his phone went switched off from January 4, 2018.
The official website of the Aligarh Muslim University says that 26-year-old Mannan was pursuing a PhD on ‘Structural and Geo-Morphological Study of Lolab Valley, Kashmir’. Mannan had also received an award for the best paper presented at an international conference on ‘Water, Environment, Ecology and Society’ in 2016.
Mannan Bashir Wani, Research Scholar at Department of Geology, Aligarh Muslim University was awarded the ‘Best Paper Presentation Award’ in an International Conference on ‘Water, Environment, Energy and Society’ (ICWEES) held at AISECT University, Bhopal.The award was conferred to Wani for his paper ‘Flood Risk Assessment of Lolab Valley from Watershed Analysis Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques.
Around 400 delegates from 20 different countries including the USA, Austria, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, Iran, Italy, UK, Bangladesh, China, South Korea, Singapore, Kuwait, Tunisia, Malaysia, West Indies, Brazil and Yemen had participated in the Conference to present their research papers.
Mannan had enrolled in AMU after successfully completing Bachelors in Geology and Earth Sciences from the University of Kashmir. He had also completed his Master’s and MPhil in Geology from AMU.
He came to the limelight when Manan wrote an open letter where he argued for armed movement and likening of occupation to cancer that became viral on the social media. Authorities later on asked the news portals to down the letter from their websites.
In one of his article – ‘Why I Chose To Pick Up Gun’, Wani said “Occupation is like a cancer. … We as a nation and community have to evolve and update ourselves of the new military, mental and diplomatic tactics of India as a colonial state.”
He argued for the use of arms in fighting India, calling it self-defense.
“Violence is not that we have picked up guns to fight occupation but violence is the presence of … Indian armed men in Kashmir … occupation in itself is the biggest violence. Therefore, apologists of occupation should learn and understand the difference between ‘violence’ and ‘self-defense,’” Wani wrote in the article.
After the killing of Manan Wani Hurriyat Leader while taking to micro blogging site twitter wrote, “ Alas! heard the tragic news of Manan Wani’s Martyrdom and of his associates! Deeply pained that we lost a budding intellectual and writer like him,fighting for the of cause of self-determination.JRL appeals to people to observe a complete Shutdown tomorrow to pay homage to him.”
Pro India mainstream party Chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also wrote on the twitter, “Today a PhD scholar chose death over life & was killed in an encounter. His death is entirely our loss as we are losing young educated boys everyday. It is high time that all the political parties in the country realise the gravity of this situation and try to facilitate a solution through dialogue with all the stakeholders including Pakistan to end this bloodshed.”
Jammu and Kashmir police in a statement claimed the killing of Wani a great success.
IG Kashmir, SP Pani said that n Handwara encounter two militants identified as Manan Bashir Wani and Ashiq Hussain of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed. There was no collateral damage in this operation.