Amid conflict, Basit Khan was forced to leave Pulwama to pursue his studies.

The Kashmir Valley’s most troubled and militancy-affected Pulwama district has earned a new distinction — that of being home to J&K’s National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) topper, Basit Bilal Khan. The 18-year-old Khan scored 695 marks out of 720.

“My parents had shifted me from Pulwama three years ago to Srinagar. I was insulated from what was happening in my district, whether favourable or unfavourable. It did contribute to my success,” Mr. Khan told The Hindu.

On the Internet ban and slow connectivity in J&K, Mr. Khan said students in Kashmir need to find new ways and means to achieve their goals.

“If your goal is important to you, find ways rather than excuses. We are not having favourable conditions for many many years now. We should be prepared to face the tough conditions, as we may face more hardships,” he said.

Advisor to the Lieutenant-Governor, Farooq Khan, felicitated Mr. Khan for his “historic feat of securing 99.98 percentile in the NEET-2020 exam”.

“I hope he (Khan) would inspire many other youth from the region to crack other prestigious exams in order to serve the society in the best possible way so that their energy would be utilized for the development of the nation,” the official said.

National Conference president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah also congratulated the topper.

“The-18-year-old boy has proved the youth of Kashmir are second to none in academic excellence and chasing dreams for a better tomorrow. If students like Bilal can do it despite all challenges due to the prevailing situation, other students can do it as well,” Dr. Abdullah said.

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