'Ready To Fight This Legally': Govt Employee on Anti-NEET Row With TN Governor

The state BJP has lodged a complaint against the employee, who's also a parent, for questioning RN Ravi over NEET.

4 min read

"I truly believe I haven't said anything wrong. My anti-NEET stance is right, and I'm ready to fight this legally – all the way to court," KR Ammasiappan, a central government employee who was recently embroiled in a controversy for 'questioning' Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi over the state's anti-NEET bill, tells The Quint.

The Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on 18 August, lodged a formal complaint with the Salem Steel Plant (SSP) against Ammasiappan – who is an employee there – after he allegedly asked the governor when he would grant assent to the 'NEET exemption bill' or the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021.

A copy of the BJP's complaint against Ammasiappan was also reportedly marked to the Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia as well as the chairman of the Steel Authority of India.

But what happened? Why was a complaint registered against him? What is the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government saying? 


What Sparked the Controversy?

The anti-NEET bill, which was passed in the TN Assembly last year, intended to substitute the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) with Class XII scores for medical admissions within the state.

However, the bill was declined by the state's governor and is presently awaiting approval from the President.

Ammasiappan raised a question regarding this during an interactive session between the governor and high scorers in the NEET-UG exam and their parents. The session was a part of the governor's 'Think to Dare' series, held at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday, 12 August.

After Ammasiappan, a parent himself, asked Governor Ravi when he would approve the bill, the latter, in an emphatic reply, said that while he is the "ultimate authority" to grant approval for the anti-NEET bill, he would be the last person to do it.

This exchange of words acted as a catalyst, sparking a controversy within Tamil Nadu political circles.

P Shanmuganathan, the district president of the BJP in Salem (East), in a written communication to the executive director of Salem Steel Plant, asserted that Ammasiyappan's actions are in contravention of established service regulations.

The party urged the removal of Ammasiyappan from the steel plant run by the Union government.

The party further contended that his vocal critique of a policy established by the central government constitutes a clear violation of the Central Civil Services conduct rules. The complaint also states that Ammasiappan's actions were intended to "humiliate" both the governor and the central government, while also implying that he has ties to the ruling DMK.

However, Ammasaiyappan told The Quint:

"I've been advised against discussing this matter further, but one thing I'm certain of is my unwavering strength and commitment to addressing this legally. It's reassuring that all labour unions are standing by me. As for the claims about my affiliation with the DMK, I would like to refrain from answering it right now. However, I want to question why this claim is relevant. Is the DMK considered a terrorist organisation that one should not be a part of? Why is this question being raised?"

"What matters most to me is that I stand firmly by my words. I firmly believe that my statements were justifiable, and I'm resolute in pursuing legal avenues to address this issue," he added.

How Did the DMK Government React?

Amidst a heated showdown regarding the NEET exemption for Tamil Nadu, Udhayanidhi Stalin, the State Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development and the son of the Chief Minister MK Stalin, on 18 August said that the ruling DMK stands unwavering in its commitment to honour its election promise concerning the NEET issue.

"I take full responsibility for getting an exemption for NEET. I will take steps to keep my promise regarding NEET. We will not deceive people like AIADMK in the matter of the NEET. The DMK will take all measures to fulfill the promise made during the election."
Udhayanidhi Stalin, TN Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development

"We stand by the students. We have been asking for a ban on NEET for almost 5-6 years. We have lost 20 students. Everybody will have to take moral responsibility," Udhayanidhi Stalin added.

Leading the hunger strike on Sunday, 20 August, he also appealed to people of Tamil Nadu to join the protest against NEET, which was conducted across the state.

Speaking at the event on Sunday, Udhayanidhi Stalin demanded the scrapping of NEET and vehemently opposed Tamil Nadu governor's stance regarding the issue.

"Who are you, Governor? What authority do you have? He (Tamil Nadu Governor) is not RN Ravi, he is RSS Ravi."
Udhayanidhi Stalin, TN Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development

Calling the TN governor "arrogant," Udhayanidhi also said, "Resign from your post. Select a constituency. Meet the people and explain your ideology. The people of Tamil Nadu will beat you with chappals".

Chief Minister MK Stalin on Sunday said that the DMK would not rest till it succeeded in getting exemption for Tamil Nadu from NEET for admissions to medical courses.

Tamil Nadu's decision to introduce the anti-NEET Bill was driven by the distressing reality of increasing student suicides linked to the intense pressure of NEET preparation.

The bill aimed to replace the high-stakes exam with a more holistic and inclusive admissions process, recognising that a single test couldn't fairly assess students' potential or their diverse circumstances.

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