Published: 27th October 2021
Hundreds of students detained in Chennai for anti-NEET protests in front of Raj Bhavan. Here's what happened
The students said that even though the bill was passed by the Tamil Nadu State Assembly more than a month ago, it has been parked at the Raj Bhavan and has not even been forwarded to the President
Nearly a thousand students were reportedly detained by Chennai Police after a protest demonstration near the Raj Bhavan on October 27. Students from 30 odd districts had participated in a protest urging TN Governor RN Ravi to send the Anti-NEET bill to the President, said the Students' Federation of India (SFI) that led the protest. The students said that the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) "promotes the commercialisation of medical education" and is discriminatory towards the marginalised sections of society.
The students said that even though the Anti-NEET Bill was passed by the Tamil Nadu State Assembly more than a month ago, it has been parked at the Raj Bhavan and has not even been forwarded to the President, who has the final say in the matter. "The inordinate delay by the Governor in forwarding the Bill to the President has caused anxiety and stress to the students, parents and the people of Tamil Nadu. We demand that the Governor without any further delay forward the Bill to the President for his assent," said SFI General Secretary Mayukh Biswas who was taken into custody along with SFI Tamil Nadu State Secretary V Mariyappan and the rest of the students. "We had students come in from 30 districts of the state including Coimbatore, Thoothukudi, Virudhnagar, Nagapattinam and more. The police took us to the Guindy Race Course and released us in the evening," he added.
The students said that NEET does not just discriminate against poor rural students and those from marginalised communities, but it is also impacting the state of public healthcare as well. "The national exam is based on the syllabus of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which is studied by just a fraction of the country’s students. The number of students from rural and marginalised backgrounds getting into medical colleges has dropped sharply since NEET became the single gateway for undergraduate medical education," said Mayukh. This stat was highlighted by the AK Rajan Committee Report on the social impact of the exam. Tamil Nadu has been a forerunner in the anti-NEET movement ever since the exam was introduced.