A research scholar hailing from Kupwara of north Kashmir was on Monday expelled by Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) authorities in the wake of reports alleging that he may have joined a terror group after his photo appeared in the social media showing him with an AK-47 rifle.
A team of senior AMU officials sealed the room of Mannan Basheer Wani, 26, on Monday morning immediately after they received a letter from the Superintendent of Police, Aligarh regarding the alleged "nefarious" activities of the student, university officials said.
Wani was a researcher in the Department of Geology and was last present in his department on January 2, according to AMU officials, who said that the university has initiated an inquiry into the matter and intensified security checks including in all its hostels in view of the incident.
According to the officials, Wani hailed from Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir and had left for his hometown shortly before the commencement of the winter vacations at AMU on January 6.
A senior AMU official said that prior to the police department's letter, the university had not received any intimation from the student’s family that he had not arrived at his home after leaving Aligarh.
Suspicion over Wani's antecedents was triggered after his photograph showing him holding a gun appeared on various social media sites. It was suspected that the scholar from Tikipora in Lolab area might have joined the Hizbul Mujahideen.
However, police in Jammu and Kashmir said it was too early to confirm if Wani had joined militancy. A police official said Wani's last known location was Delhi a few days earlier and they are ascertaining where he went after that.
Meanwhile, the AMU Proctor, Professor Mohsin Khan, told PTI that the University had set "up a comprehensive inquiry into the entire matter" and is also taking further necessary steps for beefing up security in hostels of the university.
The Proctor said nothing whatsoever suggesting that Wani was in any way involved in radical activities had come to their notice before this episode. The inquiry committee would, however, fully probe this matter, he said.
Khan said that even before the incident came to light, the University Vice Chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, had issued a directive to the security staff to step up vigil on all entry and exit points of the university.
Checking of identity cards of all youths entering the campus and different hostels had also been intensified.
Khan said that university authorities have also decided to conduct surprise checks in different hostels of the university during night hours to ensure that no external elements, including expelled students, are taking shelter in hostels in connivance with any of the inmates.
A weekly check of all video footage of close circuit television will henceforth be undertaken to keep a vigil.
Prof Shafey Kidwai, member-in-charge, public relations and media advisor to the AMU vice-chancellor, said that the university’s "zero tolerance" policy towards any anti-national activity on the campus was "very clear".
"We have zero tolerance to any such activity and as far as we are concerned, we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to inculcate a sense of patriotism and commitment to the task of nation-building.
"As a responsible institution of higher learning, we utilise every platform in the institution to promote the values of pluralism and tolerance in the institution," he added.