A 17-year-old girl who scored high marks in the Tamil Nadu state board exams committed suicide Monday night at her home near Tiruvannamalai, allegedly after she failed to crack the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for the second year. The NEET 2018 results were published on Monday.
According to a senior police officer, S Pradeepa, who hailed from a Dalit family in Peruvalur village, consumed rat poison Monday evening after she realised that she could not crack the NEET exam again.
Last year, 17-year-old Anitha from Ariyalur district of the state had hanged herself at her residence following poor performance in the NEET exam. Anitha was one among the petitioners against NEET in the Supreme Court, who had argued that the syllabus for the test favoured students of central boards.
According to a relative, Pradeepa studied in a Tamil medium government-run school till Class X and scored 99 per cent in her boards.
“A private school offered her free higher secondary education and she passed the Plus-2 exams with 93.75 per cent. She was alloted a course in a naturopathy medical college. Unable to pay the fee, she waited for a year. In the NEET exam last year, she scored only 155 out of 700. But this time, she was devastated as she managed only 39 marks. She was not trained to write this exam,” said the relative.
Villagers and Opposition parties organised a protest in the village on Tuesday, demanding that the state ban NEET exams. Pradeepa’s father Shanmugham (46), a mason, was among those who were arrested for the protest. After autopsy, the body was handed over to the family for cremation.
Pradeepa’s elder sister holds a Master of Science degree and her brother is an engineering student.
Before the NEET was implemented, the state followed a system under which students were given admission in medical courses based on Plus Two marks. This system took into account the fact that the rural population in the state have little access to coaching centres or other such training facilities.
The suicide also rocked the Assembly, with Opposition parties DMK and the Congress staging a walkout. DMK working president M K Stalin urged Chief Ministers of Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and West Bengal to oppose the NEET exam “as it puts rural and economically weaker students at a fundamental disadvantage”.