Tamil Nadu government sets up dedicated helpline 104 for students stressed out by NEET after three related suicides

A 17-year-old girl, an aspirant of MBBS and belonging to a village in Vellore District, died by suicide on Wednesday as she was concerned that she may not get through NEET
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

As the number of student suicides increased to three within four days in Tamil Nadu, starting with that of Dhanush on September 12 when the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test was held, the government announced a dedicated toll free number, 104, for offering counselling to medical aspirants who appeared for NEET.

Chief Minister MK Stalin and leaders of political parties, conveying their condolences to the bereaved family, earnestly appealed once again to the student community to not take such extreme measures.

A 17-year-old girl, an aspirant of MBBS and belonging to a village in Vellore District, died by suicide on Wednesday as she was concerned that she may not get through NEET, police said. The girl, Soundarya belonging to Thalayarampattu village near Katpadi in Vellore district, who had appeared for NEET on Sunday was dejected as she was worried that she may not be able to clear the test, police said.

She hanged herself on Wednesday morning by 9.30 AM in a room of her house using a saree, a Katpadi police officer told PTI. Over a span of about four years, Soundarya is the 17th medical aspirant to die by suicide in Tamil Nadu following the introduction of NEET.

Stalin said he was shattered to learn about her suicide and squarely blamed the Central government for being "stone-hearted" and unrelenting to exempt Tamil Nadu from the ambit of NEET. He reiterated his staunch opposition to the test and once again assured cancelling the test, apparently in its application to Tamil Nadu.

Requesting the student community in a video message, he said, "I beseech you again and again to not take your life, the future of this country lies in your future; let us live and prove to be successful." Also, he said, "We will melt the stone-hearted people, we will not rest until the injustice of NEET is eliminated."

The government has announced the 104 helpline to help NEET students, he said and appealed to the parents to not exert pressure on their children over examination and its results. The Chief Minister also requested teachers, social activists and the film fraternity to "sow the seeds of confidence" among students.

AIADMK top leader O Panneerselvam urged Chief Minister Stalin to pay special attention on this issue as suicides are being reported even before the declaration of NEET results. The AIADMK leader urged the government to offer counselling to aspirants and parents to avoid such suicides in future. Panneerselvam, a former Deputy CM, requested the students to realise that ending one's life is not a solution and added that there are a variety of options open to them to emerge victorious in life. 

The AIADMK coordinator, also a former Chief Minister, slammed the DMK for repeatedly promising to "cancel NEET" which led the students to "believe" that they would be able to join courses in medicine based on their Class XII marks.

When such an assurance to get the test eliminated was not fulfilled, students were forced to take the exam and this resulted in mental agony for some aspirants who were driven to take the extreme step, he alleged. On Tuesday, Kanimozhi, belonging to Ariyalur District died by suicide fearing the outcome of NEET, for which she appeared days ago.

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