Srinagar: 18-year-old Shahreena studied in the same school as Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. While Wani left his books to pick up guns, Shahreena made books her friends. This year, she topped the state board’s class 12 exams, securing an incredible 498 out of 500. What makes the achievement even more remarkable was that the schools this academic year was closed for nearly five months – a fallout of the killing of Wani by security forces in July 2016.
“I had made up my mind that I have to study. I didn’t allow myself to get distracted,” said the topper. The screaming loudspeakers and music at mosques for 24 hours did not deter her. It was all part of life, Shahreena said. “These are situations I have grown up in. I only continued my studies.”
She has always been a bright student. In 2014, she stood second in Kashmir’s Class 10 board exams. But this time, the family thought the unrest might have an adverse effect on her marks. “Only we know the circumstances she continued her studies in. It was not easy but she didn’t lose focus,” said her mother, Tasleema.
Dadsara village in Tral is known for its separatist sympathies. Security forces have killed dozens of terrorists from the village. Burhan Wani’s death triggered the unrest in Kashmir that forced schools to close their doors. It was community schooling in the village that helped Shahreena, says her family.
“Individually, she was going to community teachers. One took physics classes, one took maths, another taught her chemistry and they helped her complete the syllabus,” said her mother.