Even after row over Dalit girl’s 2017 suicide, NEET continues to cause problems in TN

The National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), the all-India examination for admission to MBBS and allied courses, is turning into a reason for committing suicide in Tamil Nadu. Ever since NEET was introduced in the country, there was stiff objection in Tamil Nadu and students protested against its implementation.

The protest turned violent when a Dalit student, Anitha from Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu committed suicide in 2017 after she failed to crack NEET even after securing good marks in the Class 12 examination. The death of Anitha turned into a major political issue in Tamil Nadu on whether the state required NEET or it could revert back to the old system of admission to medical colleges in the state through the marks in the qualifying examination.

Since Anitha committed suicide, the number of students committing suicide has been on the rise with 12 students taking their lives after failing to clear NEET.

In 2018 and 2019 also two students committed suicide after the results of NEET came out. According to data available with the state crime records bureau, the majority of students who have committed suicide were aspirants who were appearing for the exam for the second or third time.

The year 2020 also saw two students committing suicide in the state but the year 2021 led to the death of twelve students. The Tamil Nadu government moved a bill in the state legislative assembly against NEET and the assembly passed the bill unanimously that the state does not want NEET for admission to MBBS and allied courses. The BJP legislators however walked out of the assembly.

The bill was sent for Presidential assent after the Tamil Nadu governor kept it for a few months and later forwarded it to the President.

In 2022, when the NEET results came out, a 19-year-old girl, Lakshmana Swetha from Tirumullavayal in Chennai committed suicide after she failed to clear the NEET. Her mother told police that the girl was found hanging in her room.

The Tamil Nadu government has set up a counselling centre for NEET aspirants and even before the results are out, counsellors speak to the students who have taken the exam.

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