It’s a heartbreaking story that has now become the subject of an intense political war, a mindless tragedy that snuffed out a cherished dream and a young bright promising life.
17-year-old Anitha, daughter of a Dalit daily wage labourer killed herself on Friday. This after she failed to clear the contentious National Common Entrance Test for medical colleges or NEET. Her dream was to become a doctor and serve the society specially the poor and underprivileged in her village.
Anitha fought all odds and studied under extraordinarily difficult circumstances and was a topper throughout her school life scoring terrific marks in her class 12 exams. But what shattered her dream was the decision that admissions to medical colleges in Tamil Nadu would be based on NEET and not the Class 12 results as ordered by the Supreme Court.
Anitha had fought NEET in the Supreme Court arguing that poor students like her could not afford expensive coaching classes generally considered necessary for such entrances exams thereby giving an unfair advantage to the rich. Her tragic death has sparked protests by both students and political parties across the state with most accusing the state govt and the Centre of letting down students like Anitha.
NEET itself has been the subject of an intense debate. Critics say it militates against the very idea of social inclusiveness. Those who support it say medical education should not be compromised in the name of social inclusiveness. But now the politics has clearly taken over. The DMK has vowed to protest till NEET is scrapped in the state. They’re also demanding the resignations of many, including Chief Minister E Palanisami and the newly appointed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she had promised the Centre’s help in getting the state an exemption from NEET.
The Tamil Nadu BJP President took the political war to a new level today saying Anitha’s death is a political conspiracy against the BJP. The question we’re asking is – Who killed Anitha’s dream? What is the way ahead so we can ensure there are no more Anithas? And can our netas simply not desist from playing politics even over a tragedy?