Dalit girl in Tamil Nadu who argued against NEET in Supreme Court kills self

She was one of the repondents in a plea in the Supreme Court that sought admissions to medical courses to be based only on NEET score.

Published: 01st September 2017 04:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2017 06:30 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

ARIYALUR: S Anitha (17), a Dalit medical aspirant from the backward Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu, was found dead at her home on Friday. She had argued in the Supreme Court last week against National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) score being sought to be the sole basis for medical admissions.

“Anitha was found hanging by one of her brothers in an inner hall in her house around 3 pm. She allegedly committed the act when her father and siblings were out for work. Family members rushed to her house, and lowered her to the ground before we arrived on the spot. We suspect that she was under depression since the court verdict came out.“ said K Karunanidhi, an inspector from Sendurai, who was one of the first to reach the house.

Read: Anitha had a dream, a poor Dalit village girl who would become a doctor — but it died with her

Anitha was also suspected of depression when the Express last contacted her on August 22 after the central government and Supreme Court ruled out the possibility of exempting Tamil Nadu students from the NEET exam this year.

Anitha belongs to a Scheduled Caste community in Kuzhumur village in Ariyalur. She studied her higher secondary education in Rajavignesh Higher Secondary School in Melamathur in Kunnam taluk in Ariyalur district.

Read: Ariyalur Dalit girl represents Tamil Nadu’s NEET angst at Supreme Court

Anitha, daugher of T Shanmugham (60), a casual labourer, scored 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in Class XII examinations on the State board syllabus in Tamil language medium. But in NEET, a national test based on CBSE syllabus she is not familiar with, Anitha managed only a percentile of 86.

She scored high cut-off marks of 199.75 for engineering and 196.75 for medicine. She said, “I had got seats in Aeronautical Engineering in Madras Insitute of Technology and Bachelor of Veterinary Science in Veterinary College and Research Institute at Orathanadu, but still I aspire to become a doctor.”

On August 17, the petition filed by Nalini Chidambaram, who represented the students who had successfully cleared NEET came for hearing in the Supreme Court. Anitha was present in the court along with her father and brother. Shanmugham signed the affidavit on her behalf as she is not yet 18. Along with her father, the general secretary of the State Platform for Common School System P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu and State President of Tamil Nadu Parent Teachers Association S Arumai Nathan also signed two different affidavits. Dhruv Mehta represented the three respondents. Their argument was under the 1952 amendment to Article 15 (4) that nothing shall prevent the state from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, and that the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes should be respected. The court directed the central government and Tamil Nadu state government to come up with a formula to solve the tangle and council the students in an unbiased manner by the afternoon of August 22. Anitha and her family returned to their village the next day.

On August 22, the central government refused to approve the ordinance passed by Tamil Nadu government, and Supreme court wasted no time to rule out the possibility to exempt Tamil Nadu from NEET.

“We do not have enough means to spend for any special coaching and write next year. She has given up now,” said S Manirathanam, one of Anitha’s brothers. He had accompanied her to Supreme Court hearings. Anitha is survived by her parents and four elder brothers.

Educationist PB Prince Gajendra Babu said, “I am deeply shocked. Throughout my stay with her family in the Supreme Court, she looked very dear to her family, and she looked incredibly strong and confident of becoming a doctor. Her passion for studies was overwhelming. The governments were  responsible for solving the NEET tangle without affecting medical aspirants who are either for and against NEET. The governments have simply given up on students like Anitha.”

Anitha’s body was taken for post-mortem in Ariyalur General Hospital around evening 6 pm on Friday. Police have been deployed across Ariyalur to prevent suspected outbreaks due to reports of students outrage, hearing upon Anitha's death.
 

TIMELINE

MARCH 2

Class 12 Board examinations begin. Anitha starts writing her examinations in Rajavignesh Higher Secondary School in Melamathur in Kunnam taluk in Ariyalur district. The exams finish on March 31

MAY 7

National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) exams take place across India

MAY 12

Class 12 Board Examination Results were declared. Anitha had scored 1176 marks out of 1200. She had scored 195 in Tamil, 188 in English, 200 in Mathematics, 200 in Physics, 199 in Chemistry, 194 in Biology 

JUNE 23

NEET Examination Results were declared across India. Anitha had scored 86 marks. The elgibility criteria for NEET for SC students is 130-107

AUGUST 17

Anitha appears as one of the respondents in Supreme Court against the plea of students who had successfully cleared NEET exam. The court adjourns hearing to August 22

AUGUST 18

Anitha returns home to her village on the hope of promulgation of ordinance to exempt Tamil Nadu students from NEET for current year

AUGUST 22

Central government refuses to approve the ordinance passed by Tamil nadu government. Supreme court ruled out the possibility to exempt Tamil Nadu from National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)

AUGUST 23

NEET Exam merit list declared for Tamil Nadu students

AUGUST 24

Medical Councelling begins in Tamil Nadu on the basis of NEET

SEPTEMBER 1

Anitha hangs herself and commits suicide at her house in Kuzhumur

 

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