The suicide of 17-year-old Anitha, a Dalit girl from Ariyalur, who fought against NEET in the Supreme Court has sent shockwaves across Tamil Nadu. Dejected after failing to secure an MBBS seat despite her efforts, Anitha committed suicide on Friday at her home in Ariyalur.
While the blame game over her death has already begun in the state, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan urged students, teachers and parents to not think that failing to get a seat is the “end of the world”.
Speaking to TNM, the state Health Secretary pointed out that there were only 3,500-odd MBBS seats in Tamil Nadu, while 80,000 students appeared for the NEET exam.
“This is a very sad event and it is shocking. Not getting a seat shouldn’t be a cause for suicide. Students do get three attempts for NEET. It is our request to students, parents, and teachers to not think it is the end of the world. 1,100 students who passed out of from class 12 previously got through NEET,” said Radhakrishnan.
The SC verdict on 22 August had dashed the hopes of thousands of medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu after it ordered the state government to conduct medical admissions based on NEET.
The apex court’s verdict came after the Centre reversed its stand, refusing to endorse Tamil Nadu’s draft ordinance seeking one-year exemption from NEET.
Radhakrishnan, however, argued that the SC order should not be seen as a success or failure of the individual or the state or the Centre. “India is a democracy. Ultimately, we have to have the sagacity to accept the SC verdict. It went all the way to the SC with all our efforts. It should not be seen as a success or a failure of an individual, or of the state or Centre. And it should not be seen as an end of all options,” reiterated the Health Secretary.
Anitha, the daughter of a daily wage labourer, had impleaded herself as a respondent demanding an exemption to NEET for Tamil Nadu. Despite scoring 1,176 marks out of 1200 in her 12th board exams, Anitha scored only 86 out of 700 in the newly introduced medical entrance examination. It was her disappointment at not getting a medical seat which led her to take the extreme seat.
(This story was originally published by The News Minute)