Four students, who had to appear for the highly competitive NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), died by suicide this week in Tamil Nadu. The entrance exam for medical courses will be held today across the country amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Two students -- Aditya and Jothisri - were found dead yesterday. Twenty-year-old Motilal, son of a trader in Tiruchengode town of Tamil Nadu, could not clear the entrance exam last year; he was to re-appear today.
Aditya, son of a scrap merchant from Dharmapuri, too could not clear the NEET last year. He was found dead yesterday at his home.
A 19-year-old woman from Madurai who was on waiting list after she appeared for the NEET last year and Vignesh, a farmer's son in Ariyalur, who couldn't afford a private college last year, also died by suicide, the police said.
The state had earlier urged the centre to exempt Tamil Nadu from NEET due to the coronavirus crisis and permit it to offer medical admission on the basis of Class XII marks.
Going a step further, PMK founder S Ramadoss on Wednesday demanded that NEET should be permanently cancelled. "Abolishing NEET is the only solution," he said on Wednesday.
DMK chief MK Stalin is another fierce critic of holding the NEET amid COVID-19 pandemic. He has been asking the centre to defer it. "NEET destabilises students," Mr Stalin said earlier this week.
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam expressed grief. "Students should learn to face any situation with guts and parents should help them in this," said AIADMK's Mr Panneerselvam said on Saturday.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to admit petitions seeking to defer or cancel NEET. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the authorities will take all possible steps for conducting NEET safely amid the pandemic.
For nearly a decade, Tamil Nadu had abolished medical entrance exam, saying that it leads to stress among students and that poor students can't afford private coaching.
Students were admitted to medical colleges on the basis of Class 12 marks.
During the UPA rule, the state had managed Presidential assent that exempted the state from NEET. The BJP government, however, refused exemption.
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