September 2, 2017
Chennai: Protests against NEET that cost the life of a young studious girl, S Anitha, who committed suicide as she could not get admission to medical college as per the NEET scores, intensified across Tamil Nadu with protesters in different places burning the effigies of prime minister Narendra Modi.
The protesters at many venues in different towns and cities in Tamil Nadu hold the central government and even the state government responsible for the NEET mess that has deprived many students from poor and rural backgrounds a chance to study in medical colleges.
Hitherto all admissions to medical colleges was through merit lists prepared on the basis of Plus XII examinations.
Anitha had got 1176 out of 1200 marks in TN board examinations and centum in physics and mathematics. “If she cannot get admission, it is an abject failure of the education system for which the central and state governments are responsible,” said Prof Ramu Manivannan of the Madras University.
He agreed with the assessment of many that “this was purely the doing of the BJP government at the centre which wanted to enforce its will on people of Tamil Nadu, on any issue. “Tamil Nadu has lost since the death of Jayalalithaa last year,” he said adding that “for the BJP a Tamil student is just that a Tamil student and not an Indian student. This is the national view of the national party,” that is responsible for their forceful imposition of what they consider must be uniform system of testing students for admissions to medical colleges,” he said.
The BJP will pay a heavy price for what it has done in Tamil Nadu and now its chances have reduced further. It will be difficult for the party to retain even the 3 per cent vote share it has and parties aligning with the BJP are also in for trouble, the Madras University professor said.
The anger of the people is visible on the streets of cities and towns in Tamil Nadu where protests have broken out. In Chennai, Dalit party VCK and CPI-M held their protest where the protestors shouted slogans against the state and the central governments. Reports of protests came in from different cities like Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Villupuram, Vellore and several other places in the state.
In Ariyalur, from where Anitha hailed, shops and establishments downed their shutters on a bandh call given by the DMK led opposition. Anitha’s death has highlighted the plight of Tamil Nadu rural students who are unable to cope with the sudden change in system of admission in medical colleges.
In many districts protesters burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and shouted “vekka kedu, vekka kedu” (shame, shame)”.
Anitha told the media in August that NEET was a hurdle to students like her as they are unable to afford costly coaching courses that prepare them for examinations like NEET.
Film stars too got into the action with veteran superstar Kamal Hasan questioning the government and its failure to make proper arguments in the court. He promised to fight for the issue. “We have to make our argument louder in court,” the film star said.
However, Rajinikanth, the other superstar widely believed to be entering politics soon with a nudge from the BJP, played safe and maintained a distance. He put out a tweet expressing anguish over the incident.
Rajinikaanth tweeted: “What has 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.”
— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) September 1, 2017