Kupwara boy Mannan Bashir Wani, 26, was doing a PhD in applied geology and was awarded for presenting the "best paper" on the geographic information system and remote sensing at an international seminar at the university.
Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin issued a cross-border statement confirming Wani's recruitment and saying it "punctures the claims of the puppet (J&K) government that youth were joining militancy because of unemployment and family issues".
A weeping Shameema Begum publicly begged her son to come back, desperately hoping he would emulate the young footballer who had recently joined militancy but returned home within days following passionate pleas from her mother.
"Mannan, my son, please come back. I appeal to you (reporters) to help me get my son back," she said.
Aligarh police raided Wani's room in the Habib Hall hostel on Monday and seized "some literature", district police chief Rajesh Pandey said. Proctor M. Mohsin Khan said the university had suspended Wani.
A photo of a man resembling Wani and brandishing a grenade launcher has been circulating on social media platforms since January 5, along with a purported admission by him about having joined Hizb.
Shameema said Wani had arrived in the Valley last month to attend his brother's marriage and ostensibly left for Aligarh on January 4. Since then, his mobile phone has been off, prompting the family to lodge a missing person report on Sunday.
Wani's father Bashir Ahmad is a lecturer and brother Mubashir an engineer. The family said Wani was a quiet young man whose first love was his studies, but his Facebook account, now disabled by government agencies, suggests militant sympathies.
One of his posts recall a "compliment" from an "Indian army officer" during a vehicle check. "(He complimented me) on my looks resembling the famous (militant) commander who has given them (the army) sleepless nights, and me passing a gentle smile without uttering a single word," he wrote. He added that a female co-passenger likened Kashmiris to slaves for facing such treatment.
Police sources in Lucknow claimed that some National Investigation Agency officers too had "raided" the hostel on Sunday but this could not be confirmed. Several Habib Hall boarders protested the police raid on Monday, but did not mention any NIA raid, and were taken into custody for about an hour.
"The NIA had received information about Wani's dubious activities a month ago and was secretly investigating him. Wani somehow got wind of it and fled the campus to join the terrorist group full-time," an officer in Lucknow said.
General Bipin Rawat, the army chief, was quoted saying in Delhi that "it needs to be probed how he (Wani) enrolled for higher education and became a research scholar without being identified (as a terrorist in the making)".
(Additional information from The Telegraph, Calcutta)