Keerthivasan, a 20-year-old from Kinathukadavu in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, took his own life after fearing he would fail the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). This was Keerthivasanâ€™s fourth attempt at writing the exam. He was reportedly worried that he would fail the exam a fourth time, and reportedly told his mother that the questions in the exam were difficult.
After attempting to take his life, Keerthivasan was taken to Pollachi Government Hospital for medical treatment, where he received first aid. After this, he was being taken to Coimbatore Government Hospital when he died en route. The hospital is conducting an autopsy. A case has been registered by the Kinathukadavu police.
This is the fifth NEET-related death in the state this year. Around the time the exam was held on September 12, three aspirants took their lives within five days.
A day before the exam, 20-year-old Dhanush from Salem killed himself as he was worried he would not be able to clear the exam a third time. A day after the exam â€” on September 13 â€” Kanimozhi, a 17-year-old from Ariyalur district, killed herself. T Soundharya from Vellore district took her life on September 15. This even prompted the state government to launch a helpline to provide support to students struggling with suicidal thoughts or mentally affected in any other way by NEET. Earlier this month, K Anu, a 17-year-old NEET aspirant from Urampakkam, Chengalpattu succumbed to her injuries nearly a month after attempting to take her own life.
The state Assembly adopted a bill to override NEET, in the backdrop of alleged suicides of many medical aspirants who had either failed to crack the exam or had appeared for it, after the A K Rajan committee had submitted its report.
The Justice A K Rajan committee said the qualifying exam will take the state back to pre-independence days and wanted the government to eliminate it at all levels by following the required legal and /or legislative procedures. Elimination of NEET "will ensure social justice and protect all vulnerable student communities from being discriminated in admission to medical education programmes," the panel said.
The scores obtained by the students in the Higher Secondary examination shall become the sole criteria for admission to the first degree medical programmes. To ensure equality in opportunity to students from different boards of education, normalisation of scores may be followed, it said.'
Read: Justice AK Rajan report shows how NEET disadvantages poor candidates
With PTI inputs
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.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 236116
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
Aasara offers support to inidviduals 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.
Click here for working helplines across India.