TRICHY: The victory of the farmers' protest which led to Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the repeal of the farm laws has triggered hopes among anti-NEET protesters in Tamil Nadu, instilling fresh energy in them to sustain their fight and give it a nationwide spin in the days to come.
Anti-NEET agitations snowballed into an enduring protest after Anitha, a medical aspirant who also legally fought against the new admission policy, died by suicide in 2017. It forced the then AIADMK government to pass anti-NEET Bills in the Assembly. As those Bills returned failing to get the President's consent, the new DMK government passed an anti-NEET Bill again in the Assembly and is awaiting the consent.
Kancheepuram MLA CVMP Ezhilarasan, who is also DMK State students' wing secretary, said, "Chief Minister M K Stalin is determined to do away with NEET. He sent our party MPs to meet chief ministers of various states, seeking their support against the test. We are building solidarity across the country in this fight. In December, the student wing is planning to organise a two-day event in Chennai against NEET. It will include symposiums, discussions and special talks by academicians, retired judges, student leaders, activists and political leaders from various states."
Students Federation of India (SFI) State secretary V Mariappan said he is feeling enthusiastic about the farmers' unwavering protest to be an inspiration for anti-NEET protesters.
"We have learnt a lesson from the farmers' protest that our demand should be taken to every nook and cranny of the country. The SFI has always been holding protests in various states. Once it grows into a nationwide protest, we will succeed," he said.
State students' wing secretary of Dravidar Kazhagam Prince Ennares Periyar said, "Our struggle against NEET has been going on for the past four years. Taking cue from the peaceful protest of farmers, we need to bring all sections of people in by explaining how NEET is detrimental to our health infrastructure. There is a limitation to the students' protest as they cannot sustain it like farmers owing to their studies. So, we have to mobilise all the stakeholders."
Nagapattinam MLA Aloor Shanavas said, "Long ago, Tamil Nadu showed the rest of the country how a persistent protest could make governments bow. For example, the protest that led to the first amendment to the Constitution and the anti-Hindi struggle. Now, the farmers' protest has again shown us that governments cannot go against people's will. In this way, we will shape our protests against NEET and CAA to attain victory."
Manapparai MLA Abdul Samad was of the opinion that continuous protest, without fear of oppression by the power, would definitely bear fruit and the ongoing protests against NEET and CAA would emerge triumphant sooner or later.
G Karunanidhi, general secretary of All India OBC Employees Federation, said, "One of the main reasons for the farmers succeeding in their protest was because their agitations were in New Delhi, the national capital. Anti-NEET protest will also draw the attention of rulers if it spreads nationwide."