Why is Tamil Nadu indifferent to the suicide of three girls: Systemic corruption

Opposition leaders issued their usual Facebook statements and accusations against each other with an eye on the Assembly elections.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Updated: January 28, 2016 8:04 pm
T Monisha, V Priyanka and E Saranya. All the three came from modest families. T Monisha, V Priyanka and E Saranya. All the three came from modest families.

“In Tamil Nadu, right for entertainment supersedes all other fundamental rights of people,” scribbled a frustrated Tamilian on Facebook.

On the day when three girls of SVS Medical College of Yoga and Naturopathy, a private college approved by the Tamil Nadu government, allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a 50-foot farm well, no one knows what reactions they expected to their tragic act but random Facebook scribblings could not have been one of them.

After widespread protests over Rohit Vemula’s suicide the previous week, they may have hoped for media criticism of the owner of the illegal medical college to whom they had paid several lakhs of rupees, state-wide protests and even the arrest of the college owner Vasuki Subramanian, her son who allegedly harassed them, her driver who, they said, used to threaten them.

Watch Video: Villupuram Student Suicides: Visuals Of The Medical College

Share This Article
Related Article

In the past, students have fought a dozen cases against the intimidating management in the Madras High Court, leading to protests for over one year including two failed suicide pacts before the Villupuram Collectorate (one an attempt of self-immolation by half a dozen students, another by six students eating rat poison); they have sent dozens of petitions to the district collector, vice chancellor and the registrar of Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical College (the authority that gave a clean chit to the college), the state health secretary and even the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Yet, nothing has happened.

This time too: after the suicide of the three girls, no political party in the state took up the students’ cause wholeheartedly. Opposition leaders issued their usual Facebook statements and accusations against each other with an eye on the Assembly elections. Their suicide failed to invoke any traction on social media; neither the vice-chancellor (VC) nor the state health minister were ‘trolled’ on Twitter. The media response was tepid until their college was sealed and locked. No one has been arrested: not the Registrar of MGR Medical University or the corrupt officials who conducted periodical inspections in their college and forged facts to help the college owner.

There was no statement from the health secretary or the health minister. And finally, all that their families received was Rs 1 lakh compensation from Jayalalithaa who had disbursed Rs 3 lakh to the families of each of those who had committed suicide after her conviction in 2014. ‘Amma’ also refused a demand by their parents for a CBI-CID probe, alleging the suicides were murder.

The reasons for such indifference are many: the private medical education sector in Tamil Nadu runs a Rs 1,000 crore business by selling MBBS-Dental-Nursing-Ayurveda-Alternative medicine seats — a model evolved between the government and the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, the affiliating authority to majority of these institutions. The sale of seats in these courses starts from Rs 40 lakh (MBBS) to Rs 6 crore (PG) each (note: each college recruits 150-250 students per year, the rates vary if the candidate is an NRI, cash should be in suitcases, no receipts) and Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for other medical degrees.

After the government approves the establishment of a medical institution and it is affiliated to the medical university, there are three major parameters to be verified periodically – 1) infrastructure, 2) teacher-student ratio (and patients to study, an essential part of medical education, and 3) transparency.

The affiliating authority was supposed to conduct periodical checks at the institution for its facilities. Technically, documents show Dr MGR Medical University, SVS Yoga Medical College was inspected every year, at times twice or thrice a year. How then didn’t they notice the deficiencies like a lack of laboratories, zero faculty and hostel facilities? The inspectors who visited the college on several occasions had also failed to notice that the college had been offering allopathic treatment without doctors and nurses. It had operation rooms, a dialysis unit and even radiology wings – all without permissions and on the pretext of running a yoga naturopathy college.

While these facts expose the nexus between private college owners and the senior most health experts and officials who work with the state government, they also highlight corrupt practices that have evolved over the years.

A senior official being corrupt may not be news. However, corrupt practices of a top official who has worked with the Directorate of Medical Education (DME), a wing that controls the entire medical education sector in the state including deemed universities, still raises eyebrows with allegations that she asked for iPhones, iPads and Kancheepuram sarees.

The three girls who allegedly committed suicide hailed from modest family backgrounds in rural Tamil Nadu. All three had sold their land and taken educational loans to fund their studies. They had hoped to find employment in the world of alternative medicine. Their deaths once again raise questions of a corrupt system.

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    Jan 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm
    Jaya is a 1/2 brahmin 1/2 Wodeyar. She is the kula vilakku of 99% of the 1% brahmin of TN potion. She is not running a state. She is running the largest business empire in which 6 crore people are working as slaves to give the BCH her monthly MAAL. All her party thugs are PIMPS for her. They are all busy doing great business. THEY ARE DIING BUSINESS WITH RHE MANAGEMENT TO SURRENDER THE COLLEGE TO HER ISTANT BCH SASIKALA AFTER THE MURDER. HIW WILL SHE ORDER CB-CID PROBE. THISE OFFICIAL THUGS ARE FORNPROTEXTION OF THE BCH AND HER ESSETS!
  2. T
    Jan 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm
    Youngsters should take up this atrocity by the politicians who actually run the colleges. The JayaBCH and her entire team should be replaced by young leaders.
  3. M
    Jan 28, 2016 at 6:48 pm
    May be they don't belong to political cl (Dalits or minority) hence no vote catcher for politicians to talk about!
  4. V
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm
    Why is Rahul, Sonia, Kejriwal, Communists and all the mainstream corrupt media almost silent on this issue? The private college where the students committed suicide was approved during Sonia hi controlled UPA regime. So, the corrupt media is suppressing the issue and silent.
  5. K
    Jan 28, 2016 at 2:12 pm
    This shows how paid media shows ONLY what they have been paid !!! This shows how Rahul and Khujls Co is biased , sorry state of affairs in India , hope the common man understands the real TRUTH
  6. R
    Jan 28, 2016 at 11:14 am
    The questionshould be why are pressutes, CONgis, AAPs are other communal b***ds who love to take advanatage of people's deaths, not doing drama over this ? The answer is because they havent thought up a way to blame this one on BJP and Modi.
  7. R
    Jan 28, 2016 at 11:31 am
    Why only TN? Why are the pressutes indifferent? Why are CONgis and Khujliwala silent? Why arent those JNU beggars going on hunger strike for this? Shameless communal dogs do nothing simply take advantage of people's deaths. A farmer hung himself when Khujli was holding a rally, and the same AAPs had no problem with that at all....Hypocrisy is their DNA. They make false cases against BJP and then demand resignation, but when Chandy is found taking bribes and s-xual favours they are silent.
  8. N
    Jan 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm
    Seriously even people who shed tears for flood in madras are nowhere to be seen now. Media also didn't highlight this case as they do. Example Dalit girls commit suicide...would have more effect. Or is it Amma's fear that no one opens their mouth
  9. Load More Comments