Srinagar: The year gone by for Kashmir has been one, when the state once again ushered into the bloodiest phase of its history, with highest fatality rates recorded in a decade.
But right in the heart of militancy and the violent protests, against all odds of adversity and turmoil, students of south Kashmir have won a different kind of battle altogether. On Saturday night, Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) declared the matriculation results, revealing that the average pass percentage was 75.44%.
This means that out of the total number of 55,472 students who appeared for the examination, 41,846 qualified. According to JKBOSE, boys outshined girls with an overall pass percentage of 76.41%, while the figure for girls was 74.40%.
Numbers at Glance
South Kashmir primarily comprises four districts: Anantnag (Islamabad), Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, and has been on the edge since 2010, when the new wave of militancy swept the region.
Pulwama district—which witnessed the maximum number of shutdowns, remains highly prone to militancy-related disruptions, and is characterized with an endless stream of search and cordon operations—has topped the list, with 84.50% of its students qualifying this time.
The restive district of Shopian came second to Pulwama, after 83% of the students in the district qualified the exam, while city of Srinagar ranked third this time. In Kulgam, 80.50% of the students passed the exam and in Anantnag, the number of successful students was 78%.
When violent clashes erupted in the valley in 2016, after top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani – who hailed from this region - was killed, the maximum number of resulted killings took place in these four districts.
In the districts of north Kashmir, the number of successful students was the highest in Baramulla ( 74.84%), Kupwara (62.92%) and Bandipora (62.26 %). Besides Srinagar, in central Kashmir, the percentage of successful students was highest in Ganderbal at 73.16% and Budgam, where 72.79% of the students qualified.
Success and Sorrow
When eminent senior journalist and Editor Syed Shujaat Bukhari was assassinated a day before Eid outside his office, he left behind a son Tahmeed Bukhari, who appeared for his Class 10 examinations later in the year. He has now passed the exams with 95% marks.
Former chief ministers of the state, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, took to Twitter to congratulate Tamheed for clearing his exams with flying colours.
“Excellent news. Well done Tamheed & good luck for your last two years of school,” Omar wrote.
Mufti, too, tweeted, “Best wishes to Tamheed, son of Shujaat Bukhari, Sehar, granddaughter of SASG & all others who passed Class 10 board exams today. To those who didn’t make it, there is no shortcut to hard work. Perseverance is the key to success.”
However, death seems to provide itself as a steady companion to all narratives in the valley. A 14- year-old boy who was killed by forces in Kapren district during clashes, too, has qualified the exam.
Class 10 student Numan Ashraf Bhat, from Balsoo village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, was killed on November 25 near a gunfight site in Kapren, where six militants were believed to be trapped.
This year 250 militants have been killed in Kashmir and most of them are locals from south Kashmir. Besides this, the state witnessed the killing of 89 security personnel and the death of 106 civilians. Reports further suggest that this year, Kashmir has witnessed over 1,500 stone pelting incidents, with most of them occurring south of the valley.
(The author is a senior freelance journalist. All views expressed are personal)