Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, M K Stalin, made an earnest appeal on Monday to students preparing for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) to not succumb to thoughts of suicide and instead approach life with self-assurance. This plea came after a medical aspirant tragically took their own life. Stalin expressed his belief that with an impending political shift in a few months, the barriers imposed by NEET would crumble.
He stated, “At that point, those who oppose the change will fade away,” indirectly referring to the objections made by Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi against the state’s anti-NEET legislation.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences over the loss of student Jagatheeswaran and his father Selvasekhar (who also reportedly died by suicide). May their deaths be the last related to NEET,” said Mr. Stalin in a statement.
Stalin was deeply saddened by the recent passing of Jagatheeswaran, a medical aspirant from Chromepet who had attempted the entrance test but did not succeed. The Chief Minister expressed his inability to console the grieving family.
“Jagatheeswaran’s father, Selvasekhar, also took his own life the following day. It is difficult for me to find words to console their family and friends,” he lamented.
Jagatheeswaran’s parents had hoped to see their hardworking son become a medical doctor. However, he tragically became another victim of the NEET exam, which Stalin referred to as a horrifying occurrence.
Over the past few years, a series of suicides allegedly linked to NEET have occurred in the state.
“I urge all students to never contemplate ending their lives under any circumstances. The obstacle of NEET to your progress will be eliminated. The state government is actively pursuing legal measures to achieve this,” stated Mr. Stalin in his message.
He recalled the Assembly’s resolutions requesting exemption from NEET for Tamil Nadu. While the Governor returned the first resolution and forwarded the second one to the President for approval, it seemed that Governor Ravi wished for the bill to be discarded. Stalin criticized the escalating costs of the NEET exam, making it accessible only to the affluent.
Stalin contended that students who couldn’t afford extensive coaching had difficulty passing the exam, and a situation had arisen where only those who had financial resources could pursue medical education.
“Despite this, the state government introduced a 7.5 percent reservation for economically disadvantaged students from government schools in medical colleges. Unfortunately, the Governor fails to comprehend this. It’s doubtful whether he’s influenced by coaching centers,” Stalin accused.
He further accused Governor Ravi of “conducting sessions” at the Raj Bhavan by inviting students, claiming the Governor exhibited ignorance when he stated he wouldn’t sign the NEET exemption bill. The Chief Minister clarified that the bill awaited the President’s signature, and the Governor held no authority in this matter, despite his outward display of authority.
Regardless of how many lives are lost, the Chief Minister believed that Governor Ravi’s heart would remain unmoved. He offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Jagatheeswaran and Selvasekhar, hoping their deaths would be the last resulting from NEET.
Addressing the students, Stalin concluded, “A promising future awaits you. Be confident in yourselves. Live and allow others to live. I reiterate, do not entertain thoughts of suicide.”
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