Photos on social media showed Mannan Wani holding an AK-47 assault rifle

Mannan Wani, the AMU scholar believed to have joined the Hizbul Mujahideen. Photos on social media showed the student holding an AK-47 assault rifle. The student has not been seen since January 3.

Mannan Wani, a research scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University who disappeared last week, has been suspended following reports he may have taken up arms and joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, the chief proctor of the institution said today.

Wani stands suspended until further probe is carried out into his disappearance and into social media photos that show him holding an AK-47 rifle, Prof. Mohd. Mohsin Khan, the proctor, said.

"There was no clue about his (alleged) activities. He was regular in the hostel and university (sic)," Prof. Khan added, even as police carried out searches on university premises in order to probe Wani's disappearance.

The university's move to suspend Wani came hours after reports emerged of the possibility of the 25-year-old PhD student having joined the terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.

Photos showing Wani holding a gun appeared on social media soon after his family in Kashmir lodged a missing persons complaint with the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Wani was to return home last week, but wasn't heard from since January 3. His last known location was New Delhi.

Earlier, the Inspector General of Jammu and Kashmir Police had said the force could not confirm whether Wani had indeed joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and had expressed caution, saying the photos in question could be photoshopped.

Mannan is a resident of the Takipora village in Kashmir's Kupwara and was pursuing a PhD in geology from AMU.