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3 Student Suicides Rattle TN, Oppn Demands NEET Be Scrapped

Ridhushree from Tirupur, Vaishya from Pattukottai and Monisha from Villupuram killed themselves after failing NEET.

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Cameraperson: Sudhakar
Producer: Smitha TK
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

Tamil Nadu has a long history of objection to NEET. This year, three student suicides following the test’s result have unnerved the state. Ridhushree from Tirupur, Vaishya from Pattukottai and Monisha from Villupuram killed themselves after failing NEET.

Ridhushree and Vaishya had scored more than 90% in the XII Board Examination, and Monisha had taken a year off to prepare for NEET. When they couldn't make the cut, Vaishya allegedly set herself alight and Ridhushree and Monisha hanged themselves.

“Her father and mother were out at work and it was the neighbours who found her. When they heard her phone ringing continuously, they grew suspicious and knocked on the door. Receiving no response, they broke the door down and found her.
They then informed her parents,” said Nandagopal, Ridhushree's uncle.

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Tamil Nadu opposition leader MK Stalin vowed to raise the issue in the Assembly. He accused the Modi government of remaining silent about the alarming number of suicides in Tamil Nadu.

AIADMK minister Jayakumar retorted, “NEET was brought during the Congress-DMK regime. Our party and the state government believes that Tamil Nadu does not need NEET.”

He said the onus is on parents to keep students from taking results so hard.

“If you fail the first time, no law stops you from attempting the examination again.”
Jayakumar, Fisheries Minister
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“Parents should inculcate confidence in their children. ‘You will pass. You are smart. You have a bright future. Don’t worry. Even if you don’t pass, it’s okay. You can try again next time.’ Affirmations like these raise morale. Students will be encouraged to believe they can pass in their next attempt. ‘I don’t know how but you have to pass’ – parents saying things like this affects students,” he said.

But BJP condemned Stalin's statement, saying the state can't defy the Supreme Court order.

“Too much of politicisation of NEET in Tamil Nadu is preventing children from going forward. Stalin is asking us to scrap NEET but how can that be done when it is a Supreme Court verdict? They are politicising (the examination)... I want politicians to encourage students,” said Tamilisai Soundararajan, BJP state president.

“Most of the opponent politicians are projecting the negative aspects and thereby depressing students, that’s why.”
Tamilisai Soundararajan, BJP president, Tamil Nadu

But, there seems to be a little glimmer of hope. The state’s performance has improved significantly this year. The percentage of passing students has gone up to 48.57% from 39.56% in 2018.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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