Chennai, Sep 2, 2017: A Dalit girl from Tamil Nadu, who fought against the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) exams for medical colleges, allegedly committed suicide on Friday.
Earlier today, speaking to media Anitha father said:
— ANI (@ANI) September 2, 2017
Her death united Tamil Nadu’s opposition parties in condemning the Chief Minister K.Palaniswami government and also the BJP-led central government.
Anitha, who had scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in plus two or class 12. She scored cut-off marks of 199.75 for engineering and 196.75 for medicine. She was offered a seat in aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology, but she denied it as she wished to become a doctor.
However, she failed to clear NEET – common entrance exam for admission in medical courses. The entrance exam was made mandatory last year and it is based on CBSE syllabus.
Hailing from a village in Ariyalur district, around 300 km from here, she was the daughter of a daily labourer.
In her petition in the apex court against NEET, Anitha had said that rural students will not be able to compete against the students from the city if a common entrance exam is held for medical college seats.
In a statement issued here, former Union Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss blamed the central and the state governments for the tragedy.
Expressing his condolences to Anitha’s parents, he said the state government headed by Palaniswami and the central government should accept responsibility for her death as they had initially assured that Tamil Nadu will get one year exemption from NEET.
The PMK leader said he was not able to understand as to why Anitha who took up the cause of rural students against NEET would commit suicide.
Some student organisations held a protest here. Police took the agitators into custody and later released them.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, who was seen on television screens constantly assuring the students that they would get exemption from NEET, on Friday urged the students not to resort such an extreme step.
He promised help from the state government to Anitha’s family.
DMK Working President M.K.Stalin also urged the students not to take extreme steps.
Expressing shock over Anitha’s suicide, Stalin said the central and the state government should own moral responsibility for her death.
Recalling the letter written in blood by Anitha seeking his support against NEET, Stalin said she is dead even before that letter got dried.
Speaking to reporters here, actor Kamal Haasan said: “We have lost a good doctor.” He said those who should fight against NEET were indulging in horse trading, in a veiled reference to the divide in the ruling AIADMK.
The actor further added that those who were praising NEET have now vanished.
Actor Rajinikanth in a tweet said:
— Rajinikanth (@rajinikanth) September 1, 2017
He did not comment on NEET.
Leaders of several other political parties also condemned the state and the central government for Anitha’s suicide, criticising the latter for backing out at the last moment from supporting the ordinance drafted by Tamil Nadu government despite an earlier promise of support.
In a late night statement, Chief Minister Palaniswami expressing his grief and condolences announced a solatium of Rs 700,000 to the family of Anitha.
He also promised a government job to a family member of Anitha in line with their educational qualification.