According to a Times of India report, by journalist Anuja Jaiswal published on January 9, 2018, at 07:59, “the roomate of Mannan Wani is also missing since July 2017”.
The concocted news piece, mentions the roommate from Baramulla, as missing since July 2017.
While speaking to Free Press Kashmir over the phone, Arif Hussain (name changed) said that he was a room mate of Mannan in college, but he is working in Maharashtra now, where he lives with his wife.
“I am very disturbed since I saw this report. I have a career and a life here and this news report has put me in danger. This journalist never called or spoke to me before doing this report. I don’t know how they are claiming that I am missing and what they mean by it,” Hussain said.
While the TOI report mentions “a preliminary probe has revealed that his roommate, Hussain from Baramulla, too, has been missing”, it fails to mention any details about the preliminary probe.
The alleged news piece goes on to talk about “love jihad” and Mannan Wani’s take on Kerala Convert Hadiya’s case. “In another tweet, he wondered why NIA was investigating a love affair between two consenting adults,” the report says.
While speaking to Free Press Kashmir, the family member of Arif Hussain said, “I was shocked to read the name of my brother on a report claiming to be news. I immediately called to speak to him, and got to know that he is at work. The report claims he is missing since 2017. He has constantly been in touch with friends and family and is living a normal life. He has a wife and job. These journalists and so called news agencies must apologise. They cant get away by framing people every time, without any fact-checking and consequences to them.”
What looks like case of lazy journalism, feeding on Kashmiri and Muslim bodies, which are very common in Indian media after arrests of Kashmiris or Muslims, may very well be a planted story. In both cases, it has not only disturbed Hussain, but put his family on a condition of hysteria.
Another website OpIndia also carried the same report from TOI which spells Hizbul as Hijbul.
OpInida quotes the older TOI report and goes on to quote Aligarh SSP, Rajesh Pandey to corroborate the claim. “As per the Aligarh SSP Rajesh Pandey, Wani’s roommate hasn’t reported to his hostel room since that date. A full scale investigation was launched by the UP ATS on Monday, into the backgrounds of these students. Reports though are yet to reveal the nature of Hussain’s disappearance and whether they are related to his roommate’s decision to become a terrorist.”
The Indian Express quotes SP (City) Atul Srivastava saying, “Wani’s roommate — also from Kashmir and pursuing MSc — had gone to his native place four months ago and is yet to return. AMU authorities do not why.”
(Times of India removed the name from the piece shortly after this article was first published.)