Aala Fazili, the 35-year-old Kashmiri research scholar who is being questioned by the NIA in New Delhi, wanted to complete his PhD by June next year and look for a job, his friends said.
He was going to get married next month.
The NIA summoned him on September 25 to the national capital to question him on the funding sources of militants in Kashmir, a case the agency is investigating. His questioning has sparked protests in the state by students who want the researcher to be released.
Vice-Chancellor of Kashmir University Khursheed Andrabi has written to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and state police chief S P Vaid expressing the students’ concerns over Fazili’s questioning.
Fazili is the son of a retired executive engineer and a resident of Humhuma on the outskirts of Srinagar. After completing his Master in Pharmaceutical Science (MPharm) from Kashmir University, he was registered as a PhD research scholar in 2015 in the same institution.
His field of study is gamma scintigraphy in controlled release matrix tablets.
“A few months ago, the Board of Research Studies had approved his research topic and he had started his research work,” said a research scholar.
His teachers called Fazili a brilliant student who was awarded the Maulana Azad National Scholarship for his academic performance.
Fazili gained a degree of visibility during the 2016 street protests as he participated in several television programmes, including one on the Qatar-based Al Jazeera channel, condemning the use of force on civilian protesters.
“He was getting married next month,” said a friend. “He recently told me that he was trying hard to finish his PhD thesis. He was soon joining Ranbaxy for research purposes.”
Police said Fazili has been active in student politics and was trying to revive it on the Kashmir University campus, the only state where student politics is banned.