"If EPS and OPS can do meditation at memorial, why can’t we?" asked student protesters.

Jaya memorial only for politicians Chennai police evict students protesting for Anitha Thanthi TV screengrab
news Anitha suicide Wednesday, September 06, 2017 - 16:44

Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai has been the epicentre of political developments in Tamil Nadu. In the last few months, the late Chief Minister’s final resting place has witnessed former CM O Panneerselvam’s rebellion, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala’s three-time vow before being jailed and most recently the patch-up of the two warring factions of the AIADMDK.

But on Wednesday, more than 100 student activists belonging to the SFI were forcibly removed by the Chennai Police from Jayalalithaa’s memorial for protesting - demanding justice for Anitha. Demanding that NEET be scrapped, the students raised slogans, with some sitting at Jayalalithaa’s final resting place. Visuals showed the students arguing with the police to allow them to sit and peacefully protest. One police officer shouts, “Who gave you permission to sit here? Get out.”

Students – men and women – who resisted are then evicted by the police. One female protester was seen on camera being dragged away by policewomen. As she’s being picked up, she tells reporters “Today it is Anitha. Tomorrow, another woman shouldn’t be die and that’s why we are protesting. If EPS and OPS can do meditation at memorial, why can’t we?”

The students were later detained by the Chennai police.

Wednesday’s protest is the latest in a series of student demonstrations across Tamil Nadu, triggered by Anitha’s suicide. Anitha, a Dalit student from Ariyalur, who had challenged NEET at the Supreme Court, killed herself last Friday, distraught over not getting into a medical college.

Her death has renewed demands both by opposition parties like the DMK and amongst students for NEET to be scrapped. Much of the anger of protesters has been directed at the Centre and the state government.

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