MADURAI, Sept 12 (PTI): A 19-year-old medical aspirant died of alleged suicide here on Saturday, apparently ‘apprehensive’ over the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET), police said. The victim, identified as Jothisri Durga, daughter of a police Sub-Inspector, was found hanging at her residence and a purported suicide note left behind by her said she was ‘apprehensive’ about NEET though others had high ‘hopes’ on her, they said.
The death, which comes days after another medical aspirant in Ariyalur in the state also allegedly committed suicide, drew sharp responses from Tamil Nadu political parties opposed to NEET, even as Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam of the ruling AIADMK expressed shock over the incident.
DMK President M K Stalin said NEET “is not an exam at all.”
Taking to Twitter, Palaniswami expressed grief over the “sad” incident and said students have many avenues to taste success and resorting to such extreme steps was distressing. “It is distressing to see students, the hope for the future, taking such steps,” he said.
Condoling the girl’s death, he expressed his sympathies with the family. In a tweet, Panneerselvam expressed grief over such incidents concerning the students, who are the “pillars of the future.” “Students should learn to face any situation with guts and parents should aid them in this,” the deputy CM, also the AIADMK Coordinator, said.
State Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar visited the family and consoled them. Stalin, Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, expressed shock over the alleged suicide, but said killing oneself was not the solution.
“We can realise from the death of Anitha (a medical aspirant who died of suicide in 2017) to Jothisri Durga that NEET is severely affecting students,” he said in a tweet.
“I repeat, suicide is not a solution; NEET is not an exam at all. #BanNeet_SaveTNStudents,” he added. In a separate statement, he appealed to students not to resort to such extreme steps, asserting that success has to be achieved through struggle. Training his guns on the Centre and the state government, he said “the student community is falling prey to the fire called NEET fuelled by them.” Assuring his party’s support to the students on the issue, he said the DMK was prepared to take forward any legal or political struggle against NEET.
Meanwhile, DMK Youth Wing Secretary and Stalin’s son, Udhayanidhi visited the family and provided an assistance of Rs five lakh. PMK MP Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, whose party is an NDA constituent, condoled the student’s death and expressed his sympathies with her family. “#SayNoToNEET #BanNEET,” the PMK Youth Wing leader tweeted. His father and party founder Dr S Ramadoss also called for scrapping the exam. MDMK founder and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko slammed the BJP-led Centre, saying suicides of students in the state was happening due to the “imposition” of NEET on them. Recalling various instances of suicides by students in Tamil Nadu, including that of Anitha, which had sparked an outrage in the state, Vaiko alleged that despite their high class XII scores, students from the poorer sections were ‘filtered’ in NEET and their medical dreams ‘destroyed.’
“Cancellation of NEET alone can prevent such deaths,” he said in a statement. Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader and independent legislator, T T V Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan also expressed anguish over Durga’s death.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a batch of pleas seeking deferment or cancellation of NEET scheduled for Sunday. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan had said that authorities will take all necessary steps for conducting the NEET-undergraduate exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic for admission in medical courses.