CHENNAI: Leaders and cadre belonging to opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday staged a demonstration protesting against National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and seeking justice for medical aspirant S Anitha who allegedly committed suicide after failing to qualify for MBBS admission.
DMK working president and opposition leader M K Stalin led the demonstration at Tambaram here. Senior leaders S Peter Alphonse (Congress), K Balakrishnan (CPI-M), and M Veerapandian (CPI) joined him.
Stalin said that by opening coaching centres for NEET, there were plans to fleece students. He asked the State government whether it had located the two bills that were unanimously passed in the Assembly and forwarded to the Centre for obtaining the President’s assent.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president S Thirunavukkarasar and DMK Rajya Sabha Member Kanimozhi led the demonstration near Valluvarkottam at Nungambakkam.
Flaying both the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments for forcing NEET, the Congress leader said the protests would continue until the test is withdrawn.
Kanimozhi rued that it was a deliberate attempt to deprive the downtrodden section the opportunity for education by forcing NEET. She also assailed the Tamil Nadu government. “A government that had been battling to survive cannot deliver goods to the people.”
K Veeramani, president of Dravidar Kazhagam, CPI leader and former MP D Pandian, VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader M H Jawahirullah and DMK MP T K S Elangovan joined the protesters near the Chennai Collectorate.
“We will not rest till NEET is wiped out. The protests, hereafter, will be directed against Delhi (Centre),” he said. Questioning the rationale behind introducing a common entrance test for the entire country, Pandian noted that saint-poet Thiruvalluvar, who penned the treatise ‘Thirukural’, did not go to any college, but many scholars obtained doctorate by doing research on his work. Thirumavalavan said that NEET had not only put reservation at stake, but also attempted to undermine Centre-State relations.
CPI (M) State secretary G Ramakrishnan, who led the anti-NEET demonstration in Tirunelveli, held both the Centre and the State responsible for Anitha’s tragic end. In Thiruvarur, CPI secretary R Mutharasan said the AIADMK government had been devoting entire time and energy only for saving itself without giving attention to core issues like NEET. Senior DMK leader Durai Murugan joined the protest in Vellore while his former cabinet colleagues K Ponmudi and E V Velu led the stir at Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai districts, respectively.
Nirmala Sitharaman ‘rewarded’ for deceiving Tamil people: EVKS
Senior Congress leader E V K S Elangovan attacked the BJP-led Centre for introducing NEET against the will of the people of the State. He ridiculed that Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman was ‘rewarded for deceiving’ Tamil Nadu people as she had said the Centre would positively consider a one-year exemption, but the opposite had happened. “Nirmala Sitharaman promised the Tamil people that Centre will consider positively giving one year exemption from NEET. But, you know, what had happened. She was rewarded with Defence portfolio,” Elangovan said while addressing a demonstration against NEET at Alandur here.
Next course of action will be decided soon: Stalin
The opposition parties in Tamil Nadu are going to hold a meeting again in a few days to decide next course of action over the NEET issue, said M K Stalin, working president of DMK. “The next course of action will be announced after discussing it at a meeting of all parties in one or two days,” he stated while addressing an anti-NEET demonstration on Wednesday. Stalin added the opposition parties hoped that the next agitation would be the last one to advise the (State) government. The DMK working president also appealed to the public to brace up for a ‘bigger war’ to protect Tamil Nadu where State machinery was paraly-sed. The war was not only for NEET but also for other issues, he said
JACTTO-GEO leaders to appear before HC on Friday
Following the notices issued by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court over the ongoing teachers and government employees’ protest, leaders of Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Organisations-Government Employees’ Organisations (JACTTO-GEO) said they would appear before the court on Friday. Hearing a contempt plea, a division bench of the court had directed the Chennai city police commissioner to send the notices to the coordinators of JACTTO-GEO, and the leaders of the associations that were part of the protest, to appear before it on Friday.
City police summons students for ‘instigating’ NEET protests
Acting tough on students who took part in NEET protests, police have issued summons to 100 of them from city colleges. Senior officers alleged that these students instigated the crowd during protests. “Those violating law and order have been identified and summoned,” claimed an official. The summons have been sent to members of Students Federation of India (SFI), Revolutionary Students’ Youth Federation (RSYF) and others. The summons said that students should appear before the police and would have to assure they will not indulge in any untoward incident for at least six months.
Strikes, boycotts by teachers to blame for poor NEET score: Judge
The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the State education department to file a report on the steps taken to curb the ongoing agitation by teachers. Justice N Kirubakaran gave the directive while admitting a writ petition from A P Suryaprakasam of Royapettah, an advocate. Pulling up the teachers, who are boycotting classes as part of their protest along with other State government employees demanding implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, the judge said such boycotts and strikes by teachers are the primary reason for students of government schools obtaining low marks in NEET. When only five students from the government schools had managed to secure medical seats, such protesting teachers should feel ashamed of it, he said and directed the government to file a report on the steps taken to stop the ongoing protests. The matter will be taken up again on September 18.