Manan Wani’s journey: From Sainik School to Hizb

From being an outstanding student to one of the most-wanted militants in Kashmir, Manaan Bashir Wani, a former PhD scholar at Aligarh Muslim University, was among a stream of highly-educated youth who joined militancy since 2016 uprising in Kashmir.

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

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 2016 after the death of Burhan Wani, a poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen militant group.
His joining of militancy came at a time when other youth like Esa Fazli, a B.Tech student from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, had joined militant ranks.

After his joining, an MBA student Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, son of
Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, also disappeared to join the militant groups.
Wani was attached to his family a lot especially with his father, Bashir Ahmed Wani, who was a lecturer in college. His brother Mubashir Ahmad is a junior engineer.
From a well-to-do family, Wani remained busy with his studies at Aligarh Muslim University from 2011 where he completed his M.Phil and followed by Ph.D 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 in 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,” the police officer, who was engaged in the operations this morning in which Wani was killed, said.

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 January 3 this year to join the mlitant ranks, only to return home dead.
According to reports, Wani’s life had changed after November 2017 when he had faced frisking by forces while on way to Srinagar from his home.
In the family, Wani would be remembered as talented student since his primary standard who would take the “decisions” on his own.
“We never expected that he would take such a step (joining militancy) in his life,” said a relative on condition of anonymity.
In July this year, Wani wrote an open letter, which was e-mailed to Srinagar-based news agency CNS.
In the letter, Wani wrote about India “manufacturing narratives” and “circulating new discourses” to justify its “presence” in Kashmir, creating a peaceful environment and justice wherein ideologies would be debated and people be given right to chose they like.
“He can understand the pain he has given to his family. I had not expected this from him. He could have addressed his issues somewhere else. I have no words.” Bashir had said after his son Manan joined militancy.