In Kashmir's Shopian, the place worst hit by turmoil and violence, the Sofi family is celebrating the success of their daughter in Class 10 board exams. The girl, Ifra Sheraz, has secured a near perfect score of 99 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir state board exams. But unabated violence and constant fear has taken a toll on her mental health. The young student suffers from depression.
"There are encounters every day. When my exams were going on, there was one near our home. Bullets were being fired and I could not prepare for exams that day. I take medicines that help me sleep early. I couldn't achieve my full potential," she added.
For half of the academic year, her school in Pulwana was closed due to shutdowns and clashes. But like Ifra, many other students from south Kashmir have made it to the merit chart. The pass percentage in the region is much higher than the relatively peaceful areas of Kashmir.
Ifra's father Sheraz Ahmad says that because of violent clashes, she could not go to school or tuition classes regularly. "The milestone that she has achieved is only because of her hard work," he said.
The results have also brought back bitter memories of violence and killings. In Kulgam, a family is grieving after they received the mark sheet of their 14-year-old son Nauman Ashraf, killed in firing by security forces last month. His success after his killing has come as a double setback fo the family.
"This child was just 14 years old. Imagine when his parents saw his mark sheet yesterday. It's the worst kind of atrocity on people" Abdul Bari, a teacher said.
Tamheed Bukhari, son of Journalist Shujat Bukhari, has scored 95 per cent marks in the exams. Shujat Bukhari was shot dead by terrorists outside his office in June this year.
Tamheed Bukhari was congratulated by Omar Abdullah and Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for his achievement.