With her dreams of becoming a doctor dashed owing to a low score in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), S. Anitha, who fought against the common entry test for medical colleges, committed suicide on Friday, said police citing her family.
Her death united Tamil Nadu’s opposition parties in condemning the Chief Minister K.Palaniswami government and also the BJP-led central government.
Anitha, who had scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in the plus two exams under the Tamil Nadu state board, was however not able to score high marks in the NEET to secure a medical seat, and committed suicide, her relatives said.
Hailing from a village in Ariyalur district, around 300 km from here, she was the daughter of a daily labourer.
In her petition in the apex court against NEET, Anitha had said that rural students will not be able to compete against the students from the city if a common entrance exam is held for medical college seats.
With a cut-off mark of 196.5, Anitha would have surely got admission into a medical college in the Tamil Nadu under the old system – that is admission based on the marks scored in plus two exams.
In a statement issued here, former Union Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss blamed the central and the state governments for the tragedy.
Expressing his condolences to Anitha’s parents, he said the state government headed by Palaniswami and the central government should accept responsibility for her death as they had initially assured that Tamil Nadu will get one year exemption from NEET.
The PMK leader said he was not able to understand as to why Anitha who took up the cause of rural students against NEET would commit suicide.
Some student organisations held a protest here. Police took the agitators into custody and later released them.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, who was seen on television screens constantly assuring the students that they would get exemption from NEET, on Friday urged the students not to resort such an extreme step.
He promised help from the state government to Anitha’s family.
DMK Working President M.K.Stalin also urged the students not to take extreme steps.
Expressing shock over Anitha’s suicide, Stalin said the central and the state government should own moral responsibility for her death.
Recalling the letter written in blood by Anitha seeking his support against NEET, Stalin said she is dead even before that letter got dried.
Speaking to reporters here, actor Kamal Haasan said: “We have lost a good doctor.”
He said those who should fight against NEET were indulging in horse trading, in a veiled reference to the divide in the ruling AIADMK.
The actor also said those who were praising NEET have now vanished.
Actor Rajinikanth in a tweet said: “What happened to Anitha is extremely unfortunate. My heart goes out to all the pain and agony she would have undergone before taking this drastic step. My condolences to her family.”
He did not comment on NEET.
Leaders of several other political parties also condemned the state and the central government for Anitha’s suicide, criticising the latter for backing out at the last moment from supporting the ordinance drafted by Tamil Nadu government despite an earlier promise of support.
In a late night statement, Chief Minister Palaniswami expressing his grief and condolences announced a solatium of Rs 700,000 to the family of Anitha.
He also promised a government job to a family member of Anitha in line with their educational qualification.