New Delhi,Ishfaq-ul-Hassan(web team): Zahid Ahmad Qureshi was just two months old when his father was gunned down by suspected militants. When he needed his mother the most, she got remarried. Zahid was left in the lap of his old grandparents who despite facing extreme impoverishment sent him to school to study.
Twenty-one years later when he created history by cracking the prestigious IIT, luck again played truant with him. Despite getting the enviable rank of 89, Zahid is struggling to arrange his fee to secure his berth in the IIT. Unlike UP brothers, no one in Kashmir has turned up to help this militancy victim so far.
“We don’t have even Rs 10,000 to pay my counselling fee. If not paid, my admission will be cancelled. I thought of selling my cell phone, but it is fetching only Rs 5,000,” Zahid, who hails from remote Dudwan village of Kupwara district, told dna.
Despite facing odds, the grandparents did not let him suffer. Until 10 years back, his 96-year-old grandfather Azizullah Qureshi ran a small makeshift tea stall in Kupwara town to sustain his family.
“We do not have any source of income. We have rented out a portion of our house to daily wagers to sustain our family. My grandfather is too old now to run a tea stall which he was doing 10 years ago. I was just two months old when militants killed my father in 1995,” said Zahid.
A bright student since his childhood, Zahid changed three schools before passing his class XII from government higher secondary school, Kupwara. “I later joined Kashmir super 30 for coaching and in my first attempt cracked the IIT,” he said.
Paradoxically, Zahid has received number of phone calls appreciating his feat, but none offering any help. “Everyone congratulated me. But none of them said anything that could console my worries. We approached banks for loan. But they said produce the admission letter first. How can I do it when I have not even paid my counselling fee of Rs 10,000?” he asked.
Left with no option, Zahid is now contemplating to forgo his IIT seat and join local degree college to complete his graduation. “Unable to raise money, my grandparents are now suggesting that I join the degree college. Is there any other alternative? Though I have good rank, it is the money which matters now,” he said.