A day before the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET is to be held amid the coronavirus crisis, two suicides have been reported in Tamil Nadu.
Nineteen-year-old M Adithya from Dharmapuri district ended his life at his house in Senthil Nagar on Saturday evening, when his parents were away. This was his third NEET attempt and no suicide note was found.
Another student, 21-year-old M Motilal, who was preparing to attempt NEET for a second time, too allegedly ended his life at his house in Tiruchengode, Namakkal district in Tamil Nadu, The Hindu reported.
On Saturday, 19-year-old Jyothi Sri Durga took her own life and left a note: "I am sorry. I am tired."
The young woman lived with her parents and brother in the armed forces reserve quarters in Madurai. She had written the NEET exam last year and had scored 100-odd marks.
There have been a total of five suicides in the last month, in the state, The Indian Express reported.
NEET has always been a contentious issue in Tamil Nadu. For the last few years, students, parents, teachers and political leaders in the state have been protesting the exam. The Madras High Court also stated the exam is discriminatory for poor students from the state.
For nearly a decade, Tamil Nadu had abolished medical entrance exam, citing the exam puts those students under the state board syllabus at a disadvantage.
The state has asked the Centre to defer NEET due to the coronavirus pandemic. In August, state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar had written to the Centre demanding that the examination be cancelled.
PMK founder S Ramadoss on Wednesday also demanded that NEET should be permanently cancelled.
DMK president MK Stalin commented that NEET destabilises students.
Meanwhile, the state government expressed grief over the student deaths. Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko said the suicides were happening due to ‘imposition’ of NEET on them.
"Students should learn to face any situation with guts and parents should help them in this," said Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to admit petitions seeking to defer or cancel NEET.