Published: 03rd September 2017
Wondering how a 'poor, Dalit girl' like Anitha flew to Delhi and filed a case in the SC? Here's the name of the man who 'paid' for it
Several detractors and pro-NEET sections of the public have been asking this question of the Dalit girl, who committed suicide on Friday. Well, here's your answer
After a death, due to natural causes or unnatural causes like suicide, people always express grief and shock. But over the last two days, Anitha's suicide has evoked questions about her caste, questions about how she managed to study so well despite being from such a deprived background. One tweet also asked why the 17-year old girl had chosen to kill herself 45 days after the NEET results.
And instead of admiring the young girl's courage, to go from a small town to the Supreme Court in Delhi, people are asking how she managed to go there? How a young Dalit girl without even a toilet in her house managed to "fly by plane" and enter the gates of the Supreme Court. Politicians like Dr K Krishnasamy of Puthiya Tamilagam have reportedly been vocal with such doubts on prime-time TV.
Moment of loss: Family members grieving the death of their daughter, Anitha
For those asking, here's the answer, no, Anitha wasn't funded by any party, she wasn't secretly rich, she didn't have any propaganda. She was simply a girl fighting for her rights and she simply represented a section of a population that had been devastated by NEET and she was helped by those activists who have been fighting against NEET for years. One of those activists was Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary, State Platform for Common School System, who has time and again condemned the Centre's decision to implement NEET and fought tooth and nail against it.
"When Nalini Chidambaram said that there were no rural students who will be affected by the NEET, it shocked me. So I needed to disprove her, show her that thousands of students like Anitha, from poor families, from backward classes and from rural areas are affected. That's why I decided to take Anitha with me to Delhi, she represented the deprived," he said. Anitha had been part of several protests against NEET over the last few months.
Pouring grief: Anitha's death came as a shock to the country
And as it is evident from pictures of her small, sparsely furnished home, there was no pot of gold or black money funding her trip to Delhi or her protests. Just spurts of spending necessitated by her status as a symbol of hope for thousands of rural students.
Gajendra Babu said that questions like these are only raised to divert attention from real issues like why two bills the Centre is supposed to send to the President are still pending in court. "After Rohit Vemula died, they started to discuss what his caste was, did anyone talk about the letter that Smriti Irani sent to the University? Same thing with Muthukumaran, Saravanan and Najeeb. Nobody is asking the real questions, they all want to divert the issues and make it about things that have no connection to the suicide," he explained.
Eventually, the reason given to the State as to why the exemption wasn't granted to Tamil Nadu was that other States would also ask for one. "Did Nirmala Sitaraman not know this before she promised to help the cause? Was the Centre not already aware that other States would also make similar demands? Then why did the Centre give hopes of an exemption? How is this reason in any way a legal one?" the activist questioned.