According to Dhanush’s family, he was severely depressed after failing two attempts at the medical entrance exam, and was afraid he would fail a third time.

A picture of Dhanush cut out against the posterised background showing the crowd outside his house after his death by suicide.
news NEET Sunday, September 12, 2021 - 14:49

Dhanush, a student from Koolaiyur village in Salem district of Tamil Nadu, was set to appear for the NEET pre-medical entrance exam on Sunday, September 12. However, he didn’t make it. On the eve of the exam, on Saturday (September 11) night, the 20-year-old Tamil Nadu student took his own life, reportedly over the fear of failing the NEET exam for the third time. The Karumalai Koodal police have registered a case and have begun the inquiry. On Sunday afternoon, Dhanush’s body was handed over to his family after post-mortem at the Government Head Quarters Hospital, Mettur Dam.

Dhanush was the younger son of Sivakumar and Revathi, and belonged to a Most Backward Caste (MBC) community. Sivakumar (52) works as an operator at a private firm in Mettur. Dhanush’s elder brother, Nishnath, is doing an Engineering course.

After completing Class 12 from a private school in Masilapalayam near Mettur, Dhanush appeared for the NEET exam twice and reportedly could not attain the desired marks to pass the exam. According to Dhanush’s family, he was severely depressed after the first two attempts and had been dedicated to preparing for the controversial entrance exam for the third time.

“On Saturday night, Dhanush was seen studying for the exam till late at night. However, after everyone at home went to sleep, he took his own life around midnight. Dhanush’s mother Revathi, who woke up at 4 am on Sunday, found him dead in his room,” Vaitheeswaran, Dhanush’s uncle, told the media. “I urge the government to take measures to prevent such deaths due to exams and repeal the NEET exam,” added Vaitheeswaran.

Dhanush’s brother Nishnath said that Dhanush had secured 457 out of 500 marks in Class 10 and excellent marks in Class 12 board exams, too. However, failing the NEET exam twice deeply affected him. “Dhanush studied hard to clear the exam for the third time. However, the fear of failing the exam took over him,” stated Nishnath. “We cannot have more students die due to such exams. Government should take swift measures.”

Meanwhile, S Sadhasivam, the MLA of the Mettur Assembly constituency, urged parents to not pressure their children to take competitive exams like NEET. “Due to NEET, we have been continuously losing our children. First, parents should not force the children to write the exam if the students do not wish to. Also, if the child did not clear the second time, parents should motivate them to try another course,” said Sadhasivam.

The MLA also said that he will speak to Chief Minister MK Stalin on the measures taken to repeal NEET in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian, on Saturday, September 11, confirmed that the state government is set to pass a resolution against the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) on September 13.

As part of the Cooperative Federalism project, TNM had highlighted how centralisation of education through exams like NEET could affect students from different parts of the country, and why each state must have its own education policy.

Read the detailed story here.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families. 

Tamil Nadu
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584

Karnataka
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222

Kerala
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one. 24x7 Helpline: 9820466726

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