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New NEET admission policy kills medical dreams, Tamil Nadu girl commits suicide

Anita S, who believed that the newly launched entrance test was detrimental to the interests of students from rural areas, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her house in Ariyalur district on Friday morning.

tamil nadu Updated: Sep 02, 2017 00:11 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
NEET,Tamil Nadu,Medical student
Aspirants check seating arrangements before a NEET examination in Bhopal recently. The petition filed in the Supreme Court alleged that the new system favours urban students over rural ones.(PTI File)

Seventeen-year-old medical aspirant Anita S decided to end her struggle on Friday, a few months after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed by her and a few other students against the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).

The Dalit girl from Ariyalur district, who believed that the newly launched entrance test was detrimental to the interests of students from rural areas, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her home early that morning.

Anita was depressed by the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the plea against NEET. ( HT Photo )

Describing Anita as a “bright and hardworking student”, a relative told mediapersons that her dream was to become a doctor and serve disadvantaged people.

The Dalit student had scored 1,176 out of 1,200 in the Plus Two examinations. However, she lost out on a medical seat because her NEET score was a paltry 86 out of 720 marks.

Her suicide sparked a few protests across Tamil Nadu by student organisations and representatives of Dalit parties.

In Chennai, several students were also taken in to custody over the protests and later released.

The daughter of a daily wage worker, Anita reportedly sank into depression after the SC dismissed the plea against NEET. Anita and the other petitioners had maintained that they be allowed to take admissions as per the TN government’s policy because students from rural schools will not be able to compete against their urban counterparts under the new test.

AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, who supports the TTV Dhinakaran faction in the party, blamed both the central and state governments for Anita’s suicide. “I feel very sorry for the girl. Though Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised that Tamil students will be exempted from NEET this year, the Centre eventually backtracked on the promise,” she said.

She came down heavily on the E Palanisami government saying, “the chief minister and his cabinet members went to Delhi so many times, but what came out of it? They even met the PM in this regard,” Saraswathi said.

Anita’s HSC marksheet, which shows her scoring 1,176 marks out of 1,200. ( HT photo )

However, ruling AIADMK faction leader C Ponnaian chose to pass the buck to the judiciary. “Despite their best efforts, the central and state governments could not do anything because the courts stepped in,” he said.

State health minister C Vijayabhaskar also came out in defence of the state government.

“We tried very hard, but could not succeed in getting exemption from NEET. But students get three opportunities, and they should not take drastic steps like these,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate that the girl lost her life, and the blood is on the hands of the central government. And whatever happened to the state government’s promise of exempting Tamil Nadu students from NEET?” DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi asked.

While DMK acting president MK Stalin blamed the Modi government and the “non-existent Tamil Nadu government” for the girl’s death, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan termed NEET as “anti-poor and anti-rural”.

Kin refuses body

Meanwhile, relatives and friends of Anitha refused to take her body after post mortem and were sitting in protest at the government hospital at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu on Friday.

The protesters are demanding that the state and central governments own responsibility for the death of Anitha.

Meanwhile, CM Edapaddi Palanisami has announced an ex-gratia of Rs7 lakhs to Anita’s family members and a government job to a family member.

First Published: Sep 01, 2017 18:37 IST