There has been no dearth of protests and rallies against the National Eligibility Test (NEET). After 3 lives (including Anitha's life), the system in unabashed. The SC
continues to stick to its plan of going by the NEET protocol, while Tamil Nadu fights for exemption or reservation. For those who are unaware of the struggle, this is
to recall what exactly happened and why.
Tamil Nadu was exempted from NEET last year and it was anticipated that this year too, it will be exempted. However, the NEET exemption did not happen this year. The
Tamil Nadu Government had reserved 85% of the seats to state board students in medical admission. The Madras High Court dismissed the government's order for
reservation for state board students. Following this, the state government sought an exemption from the examination for a year.
Despite filing a case by the CBSE students in the Supreme Court, the students of Tamil Nadu did not het any support from the Centre. Anitha's journey began here. A
brilliant student and the daughter of a daily wage labourer, she had scored 1176 out of 1200 marks. She had impleaded herself in the case claiming that the NEET was
against the interests of rural students. But the Supreme Court continued to state that admissions should be made only based on NEET.
But what followed after that?
- Anitha did not qualify for a medical seat and she ended her life. Did things change? Probably not. There were more road blocks and agitation by the students of Tamil Nadu.
- Anti-NEET activists with or without political affiliations started agitating.
- Supreme Court ordered ban anti-NEET protests, following which students from classes VIII to XII at a Chennai Corporation School, blocked an arterial road. They
- continued their protest despite threats from school principal that they would not be allowed to write their fist term exams.
- The DMK-led opposition planned a public meeting in Trichy against NEET. A state-wide public protest was planned on September 13.
- TTV Dhinakaran called for a rally against the NEET in Trichy on September 16. He appealed to the party cadre and students to assemble on the Uzhavar Santhai ground in Trichy for a rally seeking permanent exemption for Tamil Nadu from NEET.
- Hundreds of students from Aalim Mohammed Salegh College of Engineering in Avadi began their protests on Friday. They attempted to march to the Indian Air Force building nearby. However, they were curtailed to hold protest within the campus.
- A number of faculty members also held a press meet to express their displeasure over the divide being created by NEET. They alleged that just like caste, religion and creed, NEET was creating a divide to prevent the economically weaker sections from coming up. They demanded that the ordinance passed by the Tamil Nadu government should be given presidential assent and not be delayed further.
- Professor Ramu Manivannan of Madras University and former state planning commission vice chairman M Naganathan spoke at the protest meet.
- In Royapettah, around 100 students of the New College staged a sit-in protest on the campus.
- Students of the School of Excellence, Dr Aambedkar Law University, University of Madras and the Pachiayppa’s College also staged similar protests on their campus.
- Train services were affected between Tiruvallur and Chennai Central as over 500 students staged a rail roko and threw stones on a speeding train in Veppampattu.