When the government of Tamil Nadu let down the state board students of Tamil Nadu by not revising the syllabus, making them lose out to their peers in CBSE and other boards in the NEET exams, a young Dalit girl, Anitha, decided to fight for her future and that of thousands of other students. She took the fight to the Supreme Court of India, and impleaded herself as a respondent demanding an exemption to NEET for Tamil Nadu.
On Friday, the 17-year-old who was completely disillusioned and disappointed with the fact that she did not get a medical seat despite her efforts, decided to kill herself at her home in Ariyalur.
Anitha’s father is a daily wage labourer at the Gandhi Market in Tiruchi who worked hard to pay for her education, and her mother is no more. By all accounts, she was an extremely bright student. She scored 1176 marks out of 1200 in her 12th board exams, and was determined to be a doctor.
If her board exam marks were considered for medical entrance, she had every likelihood of making it, as she had 196.75 out of 200. For engineering, she had scored 199.76 out of 200.
However, her NEET scores did not make the cut: Anitha had scored only 86 out of 700 in the newly introduced entrance examination.
According to her relatives, she was extremely disappointed because she did not get a medical seat. She took the extreme step despite the fact that she had an Aeronautical Engineering seat at the prestigious Madras Institute of Technology.
The Supreme Court had on August 22 ordered the Tamil Nadu government to begin medical admissions based on NEET. The SC verdict came after the Centre refused to endorse Tamil Nadu’s draft ordinance seeking one-year exemption from NEET.
The Centre, which had on August 13 said that it was willing to exempt Tamil Nadu from NEET for one year, reversed its stand with Attorney General of India KK Venugopal informing officials that the ordinance would not stand legal scrutiny. The Centre’s reversal in stand dashed the hopes of thousands of medical aspirants in the state, who had hoped that medical admissions would be based on the results of the State board examinations.
The apex court had ordered medical admissions to be wrapped up by September 4.
Speaking on the issue, TN Health Minister Vijayabaskar told Puthiya Thalaimurai, "I am pained by what happened. I want to tell students that they should not lose hope, and that they have three attempts for NEET."
People in need of counselling can contact Tamil Nadu Health Department’s round-the-clock helpline – 104. Chennai-based Sneha suicide prevention centre can be contacted at 044-24640050.