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Meet Kashmir’s CBSE Class XII topper who wants to be human rights activist

Srinagar, July 13:  Phones have not stopped ringing at Shakeel Ahmad’s home since his 19-year-old daughter Asma Shakeel topped the class 12th examination of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in Kashmir.

Asma’s success has become sweeter after she was selected by Georgetown University to study international politics, culture, and minors in the international government and theology at its Qatar campus on a 100% scholarship. The value of the scholarship is whopping Rs 2 crore.  


She has also won the South Asian excellence award from Nottingham University, England. The award carries a cash prize of 6500 euros and is given to two candidates out of 70,000 applicants. 

A student of Delhi Public School, Srinagar, she scored 98.20% marks in the Class XII for which the results were declared on Monday. Her schoolmates Madiha scored 97.60%, while Maira bagged 97.20% marks.

“I was surprised to know that I have topped the exam. I screamed and hugged my sister. My exams were held in the last week of February and I had got only one month for preparation since I was busy in Delhi applying for admissions and scholarships abroad,” she said.

Coming from a well-to-do business family of Bagaat-Barzulla, she has a twin sister and an elder brother. Her mother is a homemaker and father a businessman.

Last year, Asma had applied for admission in six foreign universities including Georgetown University, King’s College London, Nottingham University UK, SOAS University of London, and others. 

In April, she was selected by Georgetown University to study international politics and culture and minors in international government and theology at its Qatar campus.

“From day one I had decided that I would not take a penny from my parents for my higher studies. I have been working hard to build a strong profile. My aim has always been to study abroad. If one has the determination, nothing will stop him or her to live his or her dream,” she said.

Asma has decided to use her expertise to help fellow Kashmiri studying desiring to study abroad.  “I would encourage every youth to apply abroad.  Anyone needing help can drop an email at [email protected]. I will be more than happy to help,” she said.

Unlike her peers, she wants to become a human rights activist.  “Human rights have a special place in my heart. Given the situation we are in, I would like to work for human rights,” she said.

A brilliant student since her childhood, Asma had her schooling at Presentation Convent High School up to class 10.  Later she moved to Delhi Public School, Srinagar, where she pursued humanities.

“Convent has given me confidence and DPS has given me a platform to use that confidence. I am thankful to every teacher who has taught me inside and outside schools. My twin sister Bisma is my biggest support,” Asma said.