The dark side of NEET: Three aspirants in TN commit suicide in a day!

The demand to ban the National Entrance Eligibility Test (NEET) has gone to peak in the state of Tamil Nadu after three NEET aspirants had committed suicide on Saturday, one day ahead of the exam, which had apparently sent shockwaves across the state and exhibited the factor of dismay and challenges endured by the students in appearing and clearing the national entrance test to purse the medical studies. 

While the state woke up on Saturday with the news of the suicide of a 19-year-old in Madurai, it had gone to sleep with the shocking news that two other aspirants had gone to the interminable sleep after ending their lives, hours before the exam would begin. Including these three deaths in a day, the state had seen five NEET aspirants committed suicide in one month. 

According to reports, 19-year-old Jyothi Sri Durga from Madurai had committed suicide in the early morning hours of Saturday, and 20-year-old Adithya from Dharmapuri and 21-year-old Motilal from Namakkal had ended their lives later on Saturday. Jyothi Sri Durga was the daughter of a sub-inspector of police and she had left a suicide note in which she had mentioned that she would disappoint her family members and others if she failed to get a medical seat. 

In her suicide note, she said that she has taken the extreme step with the fear that she won't be able to fulfill the expectations fo her family if she fails in the national entrance test. She said, "Everyone had kept more expectations on me. I'm sorry. All your hard work for me will go in vain if I didn't get a medical seat. I'm sorry. I'm tired". "To everyone, it is not your fault. Don't blame yourself and anyone. Please forgive me, I love you all", she further penned. 

While the state was mourning to her demise with many expressing condolences and demanding the government to repeal the NEET, the news of the suicides of Adithya and Motilal had further grieved the state. The reports say Adithya had appeared for the NEET exam last year but could not clear it and he was preparing for this year's exam. His parents had on Saturday gone to Salem to visit the NEET center where their son would be appearing for the exam. When they returned to their home, to their shock, they found him dead by committing suicide. 

The distressing news of the suicides of three NEET aspirants had come three days after the 19-year-old Vignesh from Ariyalur. On September 9, Vignesh had committed suicide by jumping into the well in his neighborhood. Vignesh had attempted NEET twice earlier. He had got a seat in agricultural sciences and he was preparing for this year's NEET with the hope of getting a seat in the medical college. However, he was under deep stress and he had committed suicide hours after the Supreme Court rejected all the petitions that sought to defer the NEET examination, which has been scheduled on September 13. 

While four had died in September, 19-year-old Subashri from Coimbatore had committed suicide in August with the fear of appearing for the national entrance exam, through which five aspirants had committed suicide in the state in a month over the fear and anxiety of the NEET. The handicapped implementation of the nationwide exam had drawn massive flak and outrage in Tamil Nadu after Anitha from Ariyalur district had committed suicide in 2017 and since her demise, the voices have been brewing across the state in repealing the NEET exam, which is unfair towards students coming from rural areas and from working-class families. 

The biased treatment of NEET had again come to the fray of debate on claiming the lives of students and following the three suicides in a day, the demand to ban NEET has been growing stronger in the state with the opposition parties have been urging to revoke the exam to end the suicides and inequality. The parties have been staunchly attacking the Center and the state governments. 

Along with the parties, many activists and people have been expressing grief over the deaths and urged the governments to revoke the NEET. DMK party had slashed the Central ruling BJP party with DMK President MK Stalin assuring the students that the NEET will be repealed under the DMK rule and asserted that the students who had lost the prospects, they would be given with the opportune to pursue the medical studies through general exams. 

Stalin further added that the DMK has been prepared to take forward any legal or political struggle against NEET. Opposition leaders like Vaiko, Thirumavalavan, Dhinakaran, and Kamal Haasan had castigated the Center and state against the national entrance exam and urged the governments to find an alternative to end the fear and suicides, as the deaths of Vignesh, Jothi Sri Durga, Adithya, and Motilal in a short span of time ahead of the exams had surfaced the distressing state of the students in preparing and appearing for the NEET exams.

The state ruling ADMK government had claimed that it also has been opposing the exam. Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and his deputy had expressed grief over such incidents and placed their condolences to the families of the deceased students. According to reports, a total of 1,17,990 candidates have registered for the NEET this year in the state, which is 12.4% low than compared to the last year whereas, in the country, the overall enrolment rate for writing the exam had declined by five percent.