Dalit girl who went to SC to block NEET in Tamil Nadu kills herself

S Anitha’s death comes nine days after the Supreme Court directed Tamil Nadu to follow NEET for admissions to medical courses and finish the counselling process by September 4.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: September 2, 2017 7:00 am
neet, neet 2017, neet tamil nadu S Anitha, a 17-year-old Dalit girl, who was a petitioner in the SC against implementation of NEET in Tami Nadu, committed suicide on Friday. 

A 17-year-old Dalit girl, who was a petitioner in the Supreme Court against the implementation of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to medical courses in Tamil Nadu, committed suicide Friday by hanging at her home in Ariyalur district, near Trichy. S Anitha’s death comes nine days after the Supreme Court directed Tamil Nadu to follow NEET for admissions to medical courses and finish the counselling process by September 4. The Centre had initially supported a move from the Tamil Nadu government, seeking exemption from NEET for a year, but later decided that it was “bad in law”.

Anitha had scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in Class XII and, according to the state education department’s evaluation, scored 199.75 out of 200 for engineering and 196.75 for medicine, which would have ensured her a seat in either stream without NEET. However, according to her family, she scored only 86 per cent in the NEET. It was then that she moved to be impleaded along with the state government in the Supreme Court plea.

According to Anitha’s family, she had rejected an offer to join the aeronautical engineering course at the Madras Institute of Technology, to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Officers at the Ariyalur SP’s office said Anitha was found hanging at her home in Sendurai near Ariyalur town. They said that her body was shifted to Ariyalur government hospital in the evening for post mortem.

Read | Years of political and legal tussles over NEET before suicide of Dalit girl in Tamil Nadu

Anitha’s father T Shanmugham and her four elder brothers work as daily-wage labourers at the Gandhi Market in Trichy. “Her brothers have all either passed Class X or completed graduation, but are working as daily-wage labourers. Her mother died soon after her birth. She was the youngest and her grandmother was her moral strength,” said a close relative of Anitha.

In a recent interview on a Tamil TV channel, Anitha described how helpless she had felt while appearing for NEET with an unfamiliar national syllabus. The news of Anitha’s death triggered protests in Tamil Nadu, with Health Minister C Vijayabaskar expressing shock and actor Kamal Hassan accusing the state government of failing in its fight for the people. “Do these ministers have time to fight for the people?” he asked.

Opposition leader M K Stalin said the state government and the BJP at the Centre were “responsible for Anitha’s death”. Dalit party VCK’s leader Thol Thirumavalavan blamed the Centre for Anitha’s death. “The BJP should be held responsible for this. It was Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who promised our children that the Centre will help,” he claimed.

NEET was made mandatory last year for admission in medical and dental colleges across India. But Tamil Nadu has been against its implementation, arguing that it favours CBSE students over those under state boards. The state government had twice readied an ordinance for exemption, which was cleared by the Law and HRD ministries. However, the Union Health Ministry referred it back to attorney general K K Venugopal, while contending that if the state’s demand for exemption was accepted, other states will raise similar demands. Subsequently, the A-G revised his opinion, leading to the Supreme Court verdict on August 23.

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  1. V
    Vivek
    Sep 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm
    It is an unfortunate incident in Anitha's case. As per cons ution of india "Right to education is one of the fundamental rights" is a guaranteed provision. There is only 1 one doctor per every 1700 persons in india. This figure is high in rural areas. As per WHO standards there should be 1 doctor per every 1000 persons. But the things are reverse in India. Also the per patient treatment is very costly in india. In this contezt what it that the Politicians are doing.
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    1. D
      Dropping
      Sep 3, 2017 at 8:57 pm
      Headline : girl who went to SC to block NEET in Tamil Nadu kills herself No. Of views : 1000 Social drama : negligible Now Headline : Dalit girl who went to SC to block NEET in Tamil Nadu kills herself No. Of views : 100000 Social drama: protest everywhere THAT'S WHY THEY SAY WORD DO MAKE DIFFERENCE
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      1. Prasidh R
        Sep 3, 2017 at 3:41 pm
        The standard of Tamil Nadu state board class 12 exam is so low that even a candidate who would fail in Karnataka or CBSE board can score a minimum of 70 . A candidate who gets high scores in Tamil Nadu state board will only have the scores with low analytical skills. A mistake in this news article is that the girl scored 86/700 in NEET and not 86 . The poor girl was probably in trauma as she found most of the questions in NEET paper beyond the scope of what she studied under TN State Board whose syllabus is substantially lower than other boards in the country. Here is a question from TN state. The self inductance of a straight conductor is: a) zero b) very small c) very large d) infinity Who can't score high with questions like these? It is a visible flaw. A simple solution to the crisis in my opinion would be to extend MBBS course by a semester for non NEET candidates to include a preliminary course. NEET qualified candidates could be admitted to the regular MBBS course directly.
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        1. J
          Justice
          Sep 3, 2017 at 7:55 am
          There is no relation of this news to her being a dalit, yet this cheap newspaper used it even as a tag. What a disgrace. This is why there is a division in the society, because dalits think that they are being oppressed in cases where there isn't really any connection to their caste being the cause of what happened. And ing cheap newspapers like these paint it in the wrong way. Are we to be more sad that it was a dalit girl. Every life is equal, and we would be sad even if we read "a student" died. If they dare to write the cast when they are the victims, why not mention it when they are the culprit. Headlines should then be like Dalit rapes a minor girl, Dalit caught taking bribe. Dual standards, ing ed society.
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          1. J
            Justice
            Sep 3, 2017 at 7:55 am
            There is no relation of this news to her being a dalit, yet this cheap newspaper used it even as a tag. What a disgrace. This is why there is a division in the society, because dalits think that they are being oppressed in cases where there isn't really any connection to their caste being the cause of what happened. And ing cheap newspapers like these paint it in the wrong way. Are we to be more sad that it was a dalit girl. Every life is equal, and we would be sad even if we read "a student" died. If they dare to write the cast when they are the victims, why not mention it when they are the culprit. Headlines should then be like Dalit rapes a minor girl, Dalit caught taking bribe. Dual standards, ing ed society.
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