S. Anitha

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S. Anitha
Born Shanmugam Anitha
(2000-03-05)5 March 2000
Died 1 September 2017(2017-09-01) (aged 17)
Kuzhumur village, Ariyalur district, Tamil Nadu
Cause of death suicide by hanging

Shanmugam Anitha (5 March 2000 – 1 September 2017), was a 17-year-old student from Tamil Nadu, India. She secured 1176/1200 in the 12th standard exams in the Tamil Nadu State Board. This would have secured her a medical seat, if only the State Board marks had been considered for admission. In NEET-UG 2017, Anitha scored 86/720 marks[1]. The minimum eligibility cut-off for making it into the merit list was 40 percentile for students in the reserved category.[2]

On 1 September, 2017, she committed suicide by hanging.[3] Her death created a major controversy in Tamil Nadu where the National Eligibility and Entrance Test for medical admissions was strongly opposed. She has become a cause celebre as a victim of the system.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Background

Anitha belonged to a poor Dalit family in Kuzhumur village, Ariyalur district in rural Tamil Nadu. Anitha was the daughter of a daily wage labourer and her mother had died when she was young. She was brought up by her grandmother and lived in a house without even a toilet. She studied in a Tamil Medium school and was amongst the toppers in her district and she was the only student in Ariyalur district to score 100% marks in Physics and Mathematics in the 12th standard examination.[11] Anitha always wanted to become a doctor. She saw that it was not possible for poor rural students to afford expensive coaching needed to prepare for NEET exams and only if medical admission selections were done based on the 12th standard marks alone would rural students be able to get seats. Anitha was unable to meet the cutoff and secure a seat through NEET. Anitha was offered an aeronautical engineering course seat at the Madras Institute of Technology but as she only wanted to be a doctor she did not take up the offer. She would have been the first from her community in her village to become a doctor.[12]

NEET court case

The Tamil Nadu government originally considered reserving 85% of the seats to Tamil Nadu State Board students. The Madras High Court dismissed it after an appeal. Later Tamil Nadu government had also promised exemption from National Eligibility and Entrance Test for one year and however the Supreme Court of India dismissed Tamil Nadu government's plea after the central government refused to support Tamil Nadu’s ordinance seeking exemption from NEET for one year.

Anitha implead herself in the petition in the Supreme Court against NEET claiming it was against the interests of rural students after a case was filed by Central Board of Secondary Education students represented by senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram, wife of P. Chidambaram, who argued that admissions should be made only basis of NEET.[13] After the Supreme Court of India verdict which stated that admissions should be made only based on NEET. Nalini Chidambaram stated

"Any further appeal against NEET can only be done to God"

and that the Tamil Nadu government could no longer do anything for State Board students after the Supreme Court verdict.[14][15] Anitha committed suicide by hanging herself nine days after the verdict.

Protest

#JusticeForAnitha protests at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Her suicide led to protests all over Tamil Nadu against NEET after her death. Anitha's family refused Tamil Nadu government's compensation offer.[16][17][18] The large scale protests led to the Supreme Court of India to ask the Tamil Nadu Government to control the protests.[19]

Reaction

Director Pa. Ranjith who attended her funeral stated

"even after acquiring very good marks in class 10 and class 12 her dreams were shattered as more harsh weapons like NEET were being created. The main objective seems to be like curb the entry of the downtrodden into institutions just like IIT."."

[20] M.K.Stalin stated

"the cruelty of NEET had been explained by the death of Anitha, whose dream of becoming a doctor was killed and all her efforts over two years in higher secondary schooling allowed to go waste."

[21] T.T.V. Dhinakaran stated that

“Anitha had faith in the promise of the government but committed suicide because she could not tolerate the betrayal. If Amma (Jayalalithaa) was alive, she would have saved the State from the injustice of the NEET,”

Actor Rajnikanth stated

"My heart goes out to her for all the pain and agony she would have undergone,"

References

  1. ^ "Dalit girl S. Anitha, who filed case against NEET, commits suicide - …". 2017-09-17. Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. 
  2. ^ "NEET (UG) 2017 FAQ, see Questions 30, 61, 70". 2017-09-16. Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. 
  3. ^ "Tamil Nadu girl Anitha who spearheaded fight against NEET commits sui…". 2017-09-17. Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. 
  4. ^ "Dozens detained as Tamil Nadu braces for the next storm — Anitha". New Indian Express. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  5. ^ "17-year-old Anitha, who led battle against NEET exemption for Tamil Nadu in SC, commits suicide". DNA. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  6. ^ "Dalit student who moved SC against NEET commits suicide". Sathyanarayana. Deccan Herald. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "'State govt., Centre to blame for Anitha's death'". The Hindu. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Ariyalur Dalit girl represents Tamil Nadu's NEET angst at Supreme Court". New Indian Express. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Anitha had a dream, a poor Dalit village girl who would become a doctor — but it died with her". New Indian Express. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Medical aspirant commits suicide after failing to get admission". K Sambath Kumar. Times of India. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  11. ^ "Protests in Chennai over NEET petitioner Anitha's suicide, Centre blamed". KV Lakshmana. Hindustan Times. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "Imposing NEET on Tamil Nadu Could Damage the State's Model Education System". Karthick Ram Manoharan. Wire. 4 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017. 
  13. ^ "Medical aspirant commits suicide after failing to get admission". K Sambath Kumar. Times of India. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017. 
  14. ^ "NEET disappointment for TN ' Next appeal only to God Nalini Chidambaram". .thenewsminute.com. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "No reservation, only NEET: Why the Madras HC agreed with Nalini Chidambaram that giving state board students 85 percent reservation was discriminatory". New Indian Express edexlive. 15 July 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Family Of Anitha, Who Killed Herself Over NEET, Sends Back 7-Lakh Cheque". J Sam Daniel Stalin. NDTV. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Protests against NEET intensify after Dalit student's death in Tamil Nadu". Dharani Thangavelu. LiveMint. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  18. ^ "Thousands bid tearful adieu to Dalit girl, who commits suicide over NEET". United News of India. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  19. ^ "NEET: Supreme Court tells Tamil Nadu to ensure protests don't take place". Priyanka Mittal. Livemint. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  20. ^ "Anitha suicide: Death of drowntrodden common in unequal society, says filmmaker Pa Ranjith". India Today. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  21. ^ "State govt., Centre to blame for Anitha's death'". The Hindu. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 

External Links

  • Ariyalur Anitha’s Last video against NEET exam.
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