The Roll No 1 of 12-year-old Andleeb Ali, a 7th standard student who died of bullet injuries on Saturday after the Indian army men fired outside her house in Hawoora, featured on top of her class register. When her school will reopen, Andleeb will not be there in her class to raise her hand and mark herself ‘present’. Her attendance column in the classroom register will remain blank.
Andleeb was a brilliant student of middle school Hawoora, Kulgam. She always topped her school exams and she was also a unanimous choice of teachers and students for a class monitor.* Her oratory skills were exceptional, as per her teachers and classmates. She aspired to be a teacher. Equally good in sports, she had brought laurels to the school team earlier in Kho-Kho and badminton competitions.
She was the youngest among three daughters of Ali Muhamad Alai, a poor farmer. Her eldest sister, Roohi is a class 12th dropout and another sister studies in 12th standard. She always wanted to excel and make her parents happy. Despite all odds and financial instability, Alai invested in the education of his kids._
Andleeb’s teachers are unable to come to terms with her loss. “She had topped the 6th standard exams in the school and these days she was appearing in Term 1 examination of 7th standard. She was a brilliant student, loved by all her teachers,” said Mehraj Ahmad, her social science teacher in the school. “She used to take keen interest in debates and other extra-curricular activities in the school.”
Ahmad recalls her as a cheerful, obedient student who always had a smile on her face. *“Our school has lost a shining star,”* he lamented.
Her batchmates said *they’ve lost a role model, a guide in her. “I don’t know how I would be able to sit in the classroom without her on my side now. Her absence would haunt us,” said Ruvaida Amin,* her friend and class fellow. “She was very friendly and she would help us in studies as well. Life would be incomplete without her.”
“Why did they snatch her from us?” asked Amin. “What was her crime?
According to Andleeb’s family, she had stepped outside her home on Saturday afternoon after listening to the shrieks and wails of the village women. ShakirKhanday, 19, whose house is next to theirs, had been shot at by the army men.
“Like others Andleeb also came out to see what had happened but before she could make sense of it, the army men fired at her,” said Shafkat Ahmad, a close family relative. “There was blood all around and both Shakir and Andleeb were taken to PHC Frisal but by that time they had already breathed their last.”
Photo courtesy of Firdous Qadri