New Delhi, January 8: A research scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University has joined the terror group Hizbul Mujahideen after he took a break to visit his home in Kashmir’s Kupwara district. It comes as a setback to the government as it is trying to persuade young Kashmiris to give up violence. The discovery was made after Mannan Bashir Wani’s photograph, holding what appeared to be a AK assault rifle, appeared on social media on Sunday.Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: Police Intensify Searches, Tighten Security After Terrorists Kill Civilians In Valley

For four-five years, Wani had been studying at the AMU’s department of Geology and had chosen to specialise in Applied Geology. He had enrolled in the university’s Ph.D. programme and had also won awards for his paper on flood risk assessment in his home town using remote sensing and GIS techniques, NDTV reported. (Also read: Police Raid AMU in Search of Scholar Who Reportedly Joined Hizbul) Also Read - AMU Answer Key Released For UG Courses at, Check Steps To Download

But his decision to join the terror outfit has come as a huge surprise to his friends and acquaintances. While one said on social media that he had always expected Wani to make it to civil services, another referred to his paper. Also Read - Separatist Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani Dies: Curfew-like Restrictions Imposed in Kashmir, Mobile Internet Suspension Likely

A few days ago, Wani had left AMU and reahed Delhi. He was believed to be on his way home in Kupwara district’s Lolab Valley and should have been home three days back.

Wani’s family has filed a missing report after his photograph appeared on the social media, local media reports said. Speaking to The Indian Express, Wani’s brother, Mubashir Ahmad, a junior engineer, said: “We have also seen the picture on social networking sites. But we have no idea (whether he has joined militants or not). We lost contact with him on January 4 as his phone was switched off. We thought he had switched it off for some reason or lost it. As we couldn’t contact him, we lodged a missing report with police on Saturday.”