Despite police restrictions at the Marina beach in Chennai, students on Wednesday staged a flash protest against NEET at the mausoleum of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The students squatted there, raised slogans against the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test and demanded justice for Anitha, a Dalit medical aspirant and anti-NEET court petitioner who committed suicide on Friday.
Police said 28 protestors were held and later released. Protests were held across the state for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday by students of private and government colleges and some pro-Tamil outfits against NEET.
Slogans were raised against the central and state governments demanding scrapping of the national entrance test for admission to medical colleges. Condemning the “arrest” of protesters at Marina, state Secretary of CPI(M) G Ramakrishnan alleged that police manhandled and threw them out on the road.
In a statement, he said the arrested students incldue state level office-bearers of CPI(M)-affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI).
He demanded withdrawal of “foisted” cases against them, doing away with NEET and shifting education to the State List from the Concurrent List of the Constitution. Anti-NEET protests were held in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvannamalai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Dindigul and Karur.
Wile a large number of law students participated in the protests at several places, lawyers also took part in demonstrations at some places, including Tiruvotriyur.
Anticipating protests, the police had placed tough restrictions at the Marina beach to maintain law and order. Access to vehicles through service lanes around the beach area has been barred.
After a tough time handling the protesters, the police removed them from the premises and tightened security.
The beach had earlier this year become the epicentre of protests against the ban on bull taming sport ‘jallikattu’.
The state has been witnessing widespread protests after Anitha, daughter of a daily wage earner, allegedly hanged herself at her house in Ariyalur district on September 1.
She was reportedly upset after reports emerged that the state would not be exempted from the ambit of NEET. She could not get a medical seat despite scoring high marks in the Plus Two board examination due to a poor showing in the entrance test.
The Supreme Court had last month asked the state government to start counselling for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses in the state, based on the NEET merit list.