Chennai: The suicide of a 17-year-old student, a week ago, has galvanised protests against the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) being the sole basis for medical college admissions in Tamil Nadu.
School and college students have come out on the streets, protesting against NEET and demanding justice for S. Anitha, who committed suicide after failing to clear the entrance test that is compulsory for medical schools.
There has been no lull in protests, even after the Supreme Court directed the state on Friday to “ensure that law and order is maintained."
“The chief secretary shall see to it that anyone involved in any kind of ‘bandh’ or activity that disrupts the normal life and detrimentally affects law and order in the state of Tamil Nadu, shall be booked under the appropriate law," said a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
However, Anitha’s suicide on 1 September has become a rallying point. In the backdrop of the political crisis over factional feuds in the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) threatening to launch a mass movement for the removal of the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government, NEET has become a subject of political debate in the state.
Having organized a public meeting against NEET on Friday, the DMK will protest against the centre’s policy on 13 September in all the district headquarters, said DMK working president M.K. Stalin.
Sidelined deputy general secretary of the AIADMK T.T.V. Dhinakaran has also called for a public meeting against NEET in Trichy on 16 September.
Meanwhile, protests continue to erupt across the state on a daily basis in various forms. J. Sabarimala, a government school teacher in Villupuram district resigned her job as a mark of protest, and over 50 girls from a school in Chennai blocked roads on Saturday. Protesters have blocked roads and railway tracks and held sit-ins on college campuses across the state.
Over 80 protesters were sent to judicial custody in Madurai on Thursday, reported The Hindu. Following the apex court’s order on Friday, over 25 of them, mostly students, have been remanded in custody.