Anitha's family sends back Rs 7-lakh cheque
Chennai: The family of 17-year-old Anitha, who killed herself last week after failing to get admission to a medical college, has rejected the Tamil Nadu government's offer of seven lakh rupees in financial aid.
"Anitha died to get an exemption from NEET and not for any government aid," Anitha's brother Mani Ratnam said, turning away G Laxmi Priya the district collector of the state's Ariyalur, who visited the family to hand over a cheque.
Anitha was the daughter of a poor, Dalit daily-wage labourer, whose dream was to be a doctor. She scored excellent marks in her Class 12 exams and hoped they would help her get admission to a medical college.
But the Supreme Court ordered last month that admissions in Tamil Nadu would be based not on Class 12 marks but on NEET, the national common entrance exam, which Anitha could not crack. She had pleaded before the Supreme Court that poor students like her who lived in villages could not afford private coaching classes that richer students in cities could, giving them an advantage in the competitive exam.
There have been protests across the state since Friday when Anitha hanged herself. Amid huge public anger, activists and political rivals have accused both the E Palaniswami government of the AIADMK in the state and the BJP government at the Centre of letting down the state's students.
Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who belongs to Tamil Nadu, had promised the Centre's support for an Ordinance or executive order to exempt the state from NEET for a year, but in court, the Attorney General said the Centre could not back the move.
Opposition parties have called it the "NEET fiasco." DMK leader MK Stalin has promised to take forward the fight against NEET. "DMK will align with like-minded forces to uphold the key Dravidian policy of social justice, retrieve the rights of the state, bring Education under the State List and ensure nobody else suffers Anitha's fate in Tamil Nadu," he said in a letter to his party men on the weekend.