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NEET politics hots up in TN after another aspirant commits suicide

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | August 19, 2023 05:08 PM

CHENNAI: A 19-year-old student in Chrompet, Chennai, committed suicide on August 12.

The young man, Jagadeeswaran, who had more than average marks in the tenth and twelfth class qualifying examinations could not clear the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for the second time and had enrolled himself in a tuition centre for a third attempt.

Unfortunately, he committed suicide and after his last rites on Sunday, his father Selvasekar, a photographer by profession and a single parent, hanged himself as he was unable to bear the loss of his son.

Since the inception of NEET in 2017 more than twenty students have taken their lives after failing to clear the highly competitive NEET qualifiers. The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly has passed two bills banning NEET in the state and reverted to the medical admission of marks in the qualifying plus two examination being the criterion.

After Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi rejected the first bill, the assembly passed another bill abolishing NEET in the state which was forwarded by the Governor to the President for her assent.

The ruling DMK had during the run-up to the 2021 assembly elections promised the people of Tamil Nadu that it would abolish NEET in the state.

However, even after two years, the DMK government led by Stalin has not been able to abolish NEET in the state and provide an alternative to students for admission to medical colleges.

Recently the Tamil Nadu Governor had during an interaction with students who were felicitated for clearing NEET and joining medical colleges, said that if it were he who is to decide, then he would never abolish NEET and lashed out against the government of Tamil Nadu.

This was not taken well by the state government and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had blasted the Governor stating that the Tamil Nadu assembly had passed the bill against NEET unanimously barring the four BJP legislators who had walked out of the House then.

The death of Jagadeeswaran and his father Selvasekar has again put the focus on the anti-NEET agitations in the state. The DMK youth wing secretary and Tamil Nadu minister Udayanidhi Stalin who is also the son of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has announced a one day hunger strike in protest against the continuation of NEET in the state.

According to the DMK, the NEET was an examination which was only for elite students and those who could afford the tuition fees of high end coaching institutions. The party is of the opinion that poor children from rural backgrounds and government institutions are relegated to the background due to the NEET and that for equality the qualifying marks for the Plus two examinations should be made the criteria.

The votaries of NEET have said that the state government was batting for the capitation lobbies in private medical colleges. In Tamil Nadu alone around Rs 1,000 crore was collected by private medical colleges for admission to the MBBS course from students.

Those who support the NEET said that several students from Tamil Nadu from poor backgrounds have qualified NEET and have joined prestigious medical colleges and that the opposition by the DMK and its allies was a bogey to support the professional private medical colleges who thrive by demanding capitation fee for medical admissions.

Most of the students who have committed suicide in Tamil Nadu after failing to qualify in the NEET were those from either a very poor background or from the middle class, aspiring to become doctors.

Dr. R. Prasad Narayanan, psychologist and retired professor from the Institute of Mental Health, told IANS that, “The students must be made aware that NEET or admission for MBBS course in a medical college is not the ultimate. There are other courses that can be pursued and that give them respect in society and better living conditions and job satisfaction. NEET is a good method to get better students for pursuing one of the toughest professional courses and abolishing NEET in one state will not be a good decision.”




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