Anitha auditorium NEET
Anitha auditorium at the Government Medical College Hospital in Ariyalur. Photo: Twitter

Tamil Nadu: Auditorium named after Anitha, who fought NEET legally, opens

An auditorium named after Tamil Nadu student S Anitha, who fought NEET legally in the Supreme Court and died by suicide, was inaugurated in Ariyalur on Tuesday (March 14).

The newly built 850-seat auditorium, built at the cost of Rs 22 crore, at the Government Medical College Hospital in Ariyalur was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin. The medical college was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

Also read: Tamil Nadu teen dies by suicide after failing to clear NEET

On his Twitter handle, Udhayanidhi Stalin shared pictures from the inauguration ceremony and said he had made an appeal in the Tamil Nadu Assembly to name the auditorium after ‘Thangai (younger sister) Anitha’ and it was accepted by Chief Minister Stalin, who announced that it would be named after her.

On social media, the Tamil Nadu government faced a backlash for “celebrating” a suicide victim.

Ahead of the inauguration, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said her death made evident the “NEET’s cruel method” to pick students for medical courses.

Also read: 17-year-old girl from Tamil Nadu commits suicide after appearing for NEET

As Anitha could not realise her ambition of becoming a doctor following introduction of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), she ended her life on September 1, 2017.

Anitha auditorium NEET
Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin inaugurated Anitha auditorium in Ariyalur. Photo: Twitter

A Tamil medium student, she had an excellent score of 1,176 out of 1,200 in her Class 12 board exam. Hailing from a humble Dalit family in Ariyalur district, Anitha’s death led to outrage in Tamil Nadu.

Following similar suicides of students who could not clear NEET, it became an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu and political parties barring the BJP are opposed to the national test. Like its predecessor AIADMK regime, the DMK government also passed a Bill in the Assembly to exempt Tamil Nadu from the purview of NEET.

Also read: DMK govt keeps up fight against NEET, tables Bill seeking exemption for TN

That Bill is pending with the President for her assent. The DMK regime has been urging the Centre to allow the State to fill medical seats based on Class 12 marks by clearing Tamil Nadu’s anti-NEET Bill.

In the apex court, Anitha had argued that it is impossible for students like her hailing from villages to opt for expensive coaching to clear the national test. She had pleaded that Class 12 marks should be considered for admission to medical courses as before and only then students from villages could aspire to become doctors. She died within nine days following the top court’s judgment that upheld the entrance exam.

Also read: Third suicide in 4 days: Stalin makes a heartfelt appeal to NEET aspirants

(Suicides can be prevented. For help, please call Suicide Prevention Helplines: Neha Suicide Prevention Centre – 044-24640050; Aasara helpline for suicide prevention, emotional support & trauma help — +91-9820466726; Kiran, Mental health rehabilitation — 1800-599-0019, Disha 0471- 2552056, Maithri 0484 2540530, TN health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.)

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