September 13, 2020 2:46:21 am
Three NEET aspirants in Tamil Nadu allegedly committed suicide on Saturday, a day before they were to appear for the medical entrance exam. Many of the state’s political leaders expressed grief over the deaths and hit out at the Centre for going ahead with the examination.
According to officials, a 19-year-old woman hanged herself in Madurai.
Later in the evening, PTI reported, that two male aspirants, aged between 19 and 21, allegedly died by suicide in Dharmapuri and Namakkal districts.
According to a police officer handling the Madurai case, it was the aspirant’s second attempt at the exam and she had been trying to attend coaching classes.
In a note addressed to her parents, M Jothisri Durga said she was anxious about the exam. “She wrote that she would disappoint her family members and others if she did not get a medical seat,” the officer said, adding that Jothisri also sent a voice note to her father before hanging herself.
Exemption demand not new
Tamil Nadu has been demanding exemption from NEET for years now. After the Centre categorically stated that it would be impossible to spare one state alone, the state had come out with two bills — the Tamil Nadu Admission to MBBS and BDS Courses Bill, 2017, and the Tamil Nadu Admission to Post Graduate Courses in Medicine and Dentistry — which were withheld by the President in September, 2017.
Police told PTI that M Adithya of Dharmapuri district and 21-year-old Motilal of Tiruchengode in Namakkal also died by hanging themselves. Motilal had appeared for NEET twice while Adithya had appeared for it once before.
Earlier this week, another 19-year-old NEET asiprant died by suicide in Ariyalur. This year’s attempt at the examination would have been his third.
In August, state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar had written to the Central government demanding that the examination be canceled. He had cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason and had asked the centre to allow medical admissions based on marks of students’ Class 12 marks.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a batch of pleas seeking deferment or cancellation of NEET. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had said that authorities will take all necessary steps for conducting the NEET-undergraduate exam.
All parties in the state, across the political divide, expressed their condolences, and outrage over NEET, following news of Jothisri’s death. The Opposition, meanwhile, trained its guns on the national level exam,
Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami tweeted, “It is distressing to see students, the hope for the future, taking such steps.”
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam stated, “Students should learn to face any situation with guts and parents should aid them in this.” Leader of Opposition and DMK chief Stalin expressed shock over the death, but said killing oneself was not the solution. “We can realise from the death of Anitha (a medical aspirant who died of suicide in 2017) to Jothisri Durga that NEET is severely affecting students,” he tweeted. “I repeat, suicide is not a solution; NEET is not an exam at all. #BanNeet_SaveTNStudents.”
DMK Youth Wing secretary and Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi visited the family and provided assistance of Rs 5 lakh.
PMK MP Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, whose party is an NDA constituent, condoled the student’s death and expressed his sympathies with her family. “#SayNoToNEET #BanNEET,” the PMK Youth Wing leader tweeted.
Meanwhile, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Saturday said the Central government was playing with the lives of youth. Addressing a virtual press conference, he said the people of the UT would teach the BJP a lesson in the forthcoming Assembly polls — due in 2021.
-With PTI inputs
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