A 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu allegedly died by suicide today in the third death linked to the medical entrance exam NEET in four days.
The teen, a daily wager’s daughter, had taken NEET 2021 or the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test exam for admission to undergraduate medical courses and was worried she would not clear it. She had scored 84.9 per cent in Class 12.
Just yesterday, another 17-year-old student had died by suicide after taking NEET on Monday. This, a day after the state government passed a bill exempting the state from NEET and allowing admission to medical colleges in Tamil Nadu based on Class 12 marks.
On Sunday, a 19-year-old died by suicide hours before the exam.
The young man, Dhanush, was the son of a farm labourer. He had failed to clear NEET in his last two attempts.
Chief Minister MK Stalin has appealed to students not to lose hope and has assured that his government will continue the legal struggle against NEET in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has long resisted NEET and has demanded that the state be allowed to organise its own medical entrance exams. The state argues that NEET favours the wealthy as poor students and those in rural areas are unable to afford private coaching. Over the last few years, 15 medical aspirants have died by suicide in the state.
Retd Justice AK Rajan, who had studied the impact of NEET and coaching centres in medical admissions, had recommended scrapping the national entrance exam saying it hurt the prospects of vernacular and poor students.
NEET was introduced during the UPA regime when the DMK was a part of it. Then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Karunanidhi – MK Stalin’s father — had managed to get presidential approval for exemption from NEET for the state. But the AIADMK government that took over could not get a similar exemption from its ally BJP. The Supreme Court too had ruled that NEET would stay.