Tamil Nadu: Another Student Dies By Suicide, Third NEET-Related Incident in 5 Days

Soundharya T., a 17-year-old who took the test, took her own life on Wednesday.

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New Delhi: Seventeen-year-old Soundharya T. – a NEET aspirant – has died by suicide in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, the third such case reported in the past five days.

According to The News Minute, Soundharya was a student from Thalaiyarampattu village near Katpadi in Vellore district. She had given her NEET exam, which was held on September 12, but feared that she would fail it, reports said.

On Wednesday morning, the teenager’s parents left for work. When her mother returned, she found Soundharya dead in her room. The body has been sent for a post mortem and an investigation is underway by the Katpadi DSP and revenue inspector, according to The News Minute. Soundharya’s parents are daily wage earners and they belong to the Mudhaliyar caste.

Saundharya is the third NEET aspirant to have died by suicide since September 11 in Tamil Nadu. The first death was reported on September 11, when 20-year-old Salem youth Dhanush died by suicide before taking NEET. He was scheduled to take it for the third time, after having failed in his two previous attempts. On Monday night, 17-year-old Kanimozhi from Sathampadi village in Ariyalur district ended her life.

According to news agency PTI, since NEET has been in place, at least 15 aspirants have died by suicide in Tamil Nadu.

On Monday, Tamil Nadu passed a Bill that attempts to bypass NEET and instead allows medical admissions to state colleges based on marks obtained in Class XII or Plus Two.

Introducing the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill in the assembly, Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin said the law would “script history in social justice”. A high-level committee that was constituted by the government had said that NEET is not a “fair or equitable method of admission since it favours the rich and elite section of the society”.

The Bill, which was introduced in the House based on the panel’s report, recommended that “the state government may undertake immediate steps to eliminate NEET from being used in admission to medical programmes at all levels by following the required legal and or legislative procedures.”

Further, the committee said that NEET has hurdled the representation of social and other demographic groups which have low socio-economic status. Social groups which were particularly affected were Tamil medium students who attend government schools in rural areas and whose parents did not earn more than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum; and students from socially depressed and disadvantaged groups like the Most Backward Classes, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers (www.spif.in/seek-help/) they can call to speak in confidence. You could also refer them to the nearest hospital.