Another National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) aspirant allegedly died by suicide in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday over fears of failing in the medical entrance examination. The victim has been identified as Soundarya (17), a resident of Thalayarampattu village at Katpadi in Vellore district.
This is the third death linked to the entrance examination in four days in the state. On Sunday, 19-year-old Dhanush from Mettur near Salem, and on Tuesday, 17-year-old Kanimozhi from Ariyalur allegedly died by suicide for reasons suspected to be the same.
Katpadi DSP Palani told indianexpress.com that Soundarya had done her schooling in Thottapalayam and scored 510 marks out of 600 in the class 12 examination.
“She is the youngest of four siblings. All her elder sisters have been married. Her parents are daily-wage labourers. Around 9:30 today (Wednesday), when her parents had gone to work, she took the extreme step,” DSP Palani said.
Soundarya wrote the NEET examination at the Kingston College in Vellore on Sunday. According to sources, Soundarya had told her parents that she wouldn’t be able to clear the test. The parents consoled her that she could do well in the next attempt.
The Katpadi police have booked a case under section CrPC section 174 and sent the body for the post-mortem to Vellore Government Hospital.
The string of deaths related to NEET comes at a time when the Tamil Nadu government has passed a bill to do away with it in the state and allow for admissions to undergraduate courses in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine and homoeopathy based on class 12 marks.
Will ensure that NEET is cancelled, says CM M K Stalin
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin Wednesday tweeted a message requesting students to stay strong, and assuring them that the government will not give up its effort to have the entrance exam scrapped in the state.
In his message, Stalin said, “I was shattered to pieces hearing the news of death of these students. I am right now in the same mood as I was in 2017 when Anitha, who was a student, died by suicide. I am worried and I don’t want another such incident. Your (students’) lives are priceless. It is important not just for you, but also for the nation. You are the future of this country. I request you not to take your own life and leave your parents in a state of suffering. All of you should study with the confidence that you can become doctors, and nothing can stop you from achieving your goal. Not just in education, you should become great personalities by building your self-confidence as well. Destiny can be defeated by wisdom.”
மாணவச் செல்வங்களே! மனம்தளராதீர்கள்!
கெஞ்சிக் கேட்டுக்கொள்கிறேன்; ஈடில்லா உயிர்களை மாய்த்துக் கொள்ளாதீர்கள்!
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) September 15, 2021
The CM further said that many doors of opportunities in the field of education, which have now opened up, are being shut again by NEET. He alleged that NEET has many irregularities as well, and it will destroy the dream of rural students of getting educated.
“Previously, when we (DMK) were in power, we never allowed NEET in Tamil Nadu. But a few people, for their personal gains, allowed the test to be held. These few people still believe that this injustice should continue in Tamil Nadu, and they are carrying out false propaganda. NEET is a tool to destroy the dreams of students who wish to study medicine and become a doctor. The Union Government is still obstinate on the matter. They haven’t provided an exemption for Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Stalin said after DMK assumed power, a committee was constituted to study the impact of NEET on medical admission in the state. More than a lakh people provided their opinions, and it was seen that the majority were against NEET, he added.
“Based on the recommendation of the committee, a Bill was passed in the assembly against NEET. All parties unanimously agreed to this. The Bill stated that the admissions would be conducted only on the basis of marks obtained in the Class XII examinations. We are going to take this Bill to the notice of other states in the country. We will ensure that NEET is cancelled,” Stalin said.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister Ma Subramanian initiated a toll-free helpline (104) to provide counselling to the NEET aspirants. Subramanian said as many as 1.12 lakh students wrote NEET in Tamil Nadu.
The government, through the National Testing Agency, has obtained the contact numbers of the students who wrote the entrance test and have sent them to each district war room.
A total of 333 psychiatrists, who are working in medical college hospitals, and district government general hospitals, have been tasked with the responsibility of making calls to students. After their approval, these psychiatrists will provide the students required guidance.
The minister said that in Chennai alone, as many as 40 psychiatrists have been appointed to help the students.