From Sainik School to Militancy – the Journey of Manan Wani

Manan Wani was among a stream of educated youths who have joined militancy since the 2016 unrest in the Valley.

2 min read
People’s Democratic Party Chief Mehbooba Mufti termed Wani’s death a “loss”.

From being an outstanding student to one of the most wanted militants in Kashmir, Manan Bashir Wani, a former PhD scholar at Aligarh Muslim University, was among a stream of educated youths who have joined militancy since the 2016 unrest in the Valley.

A profile of 27-year-old Wani, as sketched by security agencies, shows that he was a brilliant student from the beginning and after his initial education, went to the prestigious Sainik School at Manasbal for completing his 11th and 12th standard education.

Wani received several awards during his academic years and had also remained indifferent to mass protests that broke out in the Valley in 2010 and in 2016 after the death of Burhan Wani, a poster boy of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group.

His joining of militancy came at a time when other youth like Esa Fazli, a BTech student from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah Univeristy, had joined militant ranks.

After his joining, an MBA student, Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, the son of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, also disappeared to join the terror groups.

Wani was attached to his family a lot, especially to his father Bashir Ahmed Wani, who was a lecturer in a college.

From a well-to-do family, Wani remained busy with his studies at Aligarh Muslim University from 2011, where he completed his MPhil, followed by a PhD in allied geology.

His name still figures on the official website of Aligarh Muslim University, where it is mentioned that Wani, who was a research scholar at Department of Geology, has been 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’.

Quoting from his last article, that appeared on social media in June this year, a police official said Wani had quoted American human rights activist Maclom X, "be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to cemetery".

We did the same thing to Wani. We gave him ample chance to surrender and obey the law but apparently he went against his own ideology.
A police officer, who was engaged in the operations in which Wani was killed.

During his days in school, Wani participated actively in sports like Kabbadi across north India. As a National Cadet Corps, he participated in Republic Day and Independence Day parades.

Wani's journey to militancy began sometime in late 2017 when he came in contact with students from south Kashmir. He left Aligarh on 3 January this year to join the mlitant ranks, only to return home dead.

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