Insha Mushtaq, 16, who was among the youngest victims of pellets fired by security forces in Kashmir during the 2016 unrest, qualified her Class X examinations on Tuesday despite losing sight in both her eyes.
Images of Mushtaq’s pellet-riddled face had sparked an outcry and had become a rallying point against the use of pellet guns in the Valley.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Insha said that the exam was ‘difficult’ but added that she was ‘happy to have passed it and was ready for the next class’.
Insha studied music after she lost her sight and now hopes to study further. “I took music as a subject and have passed that,” she told PTI on the phone.
Insha, who comes from a remote village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, is among the 43,000 students who passed the examination, the results of which were announced on Wednesday.
“I will choose the stream for further studies after consulting my parents,” she said.
Insha was blinded by pellets fired by security forces in the summer agitation of 2016 while she was standing by a window in her house, watching the demonstrators outside.
The pellets ruptured the retinae and optic nerves of her eyes and the damage could not be undone even after six operations conducted at some of the top eye care hospitals.
Speaking to News 18, her father, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, said that, “She is extremely happy and so are we. She can now concentrate on studies but has still qualified the exam, although she has to reappear in Math.”
“Life will never be same for her but the entire Kashmir wants their daughters to see her excel in studies and life,” the News18 report quoted him as saying. “We are elated with the kind of support people have offered. The family is getting congratulatory messages and people, some of whom we have seen the first time, are pouring at our house to congratulate her.”
The 2016 stir was triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the forces.
The news that she had cleared the exams conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Examinations in November last year brought joy to the teenage girl, who developed an interest in music after losing her eyesight.
“The board people have shown me as having failed in mathematics but it was not one of my subjects,” she said.
Nearly 63 percent of the 69,056 students who appeared for the board examination have cleared it.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah congratulated the successful students, including Insha.
A special shout out to young Insha who was blinded by pellets during the 2016 protests & has cleared her 10th exams today,” Abdullah tweeted.
Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “Congratulations to brave Insha. Despite going through the trauma of losing her eyesight due to pellets, she has managed an amazing feat. Her determination and resilience is an example for everyone. May Allah bless her always!”