DMK leader run Kingston College offer NEET coaching classes. Many DMK leaders run institutions are NEET exam centres
As the saying ‘pinching the baby and rocking the cradle’ goes, DMK’s duplicity and politics over NEET has come in for severe criticism from ruling AIADMK and the student community in particular. Though the ruling AIADMK has said that it is opposed to NEET in principle, it does not wish to do politics over it and the death of students like the DMK.
Nothing unusual for the DMK to count the deaths to be added to give strength to its agitation or political stand since Karunanidhi became its chief. For them, the dead become martyrs and its leaders would visit the houses of victims and pose for photographs assuring monetary assistance which never reach them. This cheap publicity would add strength to their political stance or a cause which they want to exploit.
The NEET has put an end to capitation fee by private medical and dental colleges. Prior to NEET, parents paid in crores and advance payments were made even before their wards completed their final examinations. Now they have to wait for the NEET results which has brought transparency in the admission process. Secondly, the medical institutions which have been dodging the Centre by not handing over the 50 percent of seats in PG admissions (they collect anything from Rs 1 crore to 3 crores per seat) have now been forced to surrender the same. ‘Minority’ run institutions are not subjected to this rule. Poor and middle class students could not even dream of pursuing post-graduation. Students who had to pay in crores to private medical colleges, have to now pay about Rs 12 lakhs for the entire course if they have scored good marks.
In Tamil Nadu most of the private medical colleges are owned by politicians. The NEET affected them badly and hence they wanted to get exemption from NEET. TN government has changed the syllabus to match with the CBSE to create a level playing field. In the recent NEET examinations, 43 out of 45 questions in Physics, 43 of 45 questions in Chemistry and over 80 percent of the questions in Biology were from TN state board Syllabus. Students studying CBSE and those who can easily afford the huge fees of leading coaching centres, start preparing soon after the 9th standard exam results. This is a luxury which is not available for state government school students.
Be it the so-called ‘Hindi imposition’ stir, or agitation against Methane, Jalli Kattu or NEET, one can see DMK’s duplicity. Supporting or implementing schemes while in power and opposing it while out of power. The state assembly polls are round the corner. DMK plans to organise protests in a mega way to gain political mileage and repeat the success of winning 38 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Sources say that DMK’s anti-Hindi protests initiated by its MP Kanimozhi over her treatment at Airport and T-shirt campaign have boomeranged. The deaths or suicides by three or four students came handy for them to attack both Centre and state governments. This time too, they have planned a slew of protests to win over the voters in the coming months, just like what Delhi witnessed before the Assembly polls.
In the state assembly, DMK MLA and leader of opposition M K Stalin made an abortive attempt to get a resolution passed for the NEET aspirants who allegedly committed suicide. No student who supposedly committed suicide over NEET, has given a dying declaration blaming NEET for ending their lives. DMK MLAs who came with t-shirts with “Ban NEET, Save TN Student” words made a walk out of the house. Stalin later told the media that the Palanisamy government was subservient to the Centre as it did not exert pressure on the Centre. Hitting back, TN CM Edapadi Palanisamy, health Minister C Vijaya Baskar, said that NEET was brought during the UPA government in which DMK was a partner. When Jayalalithaa challenged it in SC, wife of Congress leader P Chidambaram Nalini Chidambaram represented the private CBSE schools as their counsel. She won the case and told reporters that SC made NEET compulsory and that it would stay and no state can get an exemption.
Health Minister Vijayabaskar said that people would not accept the Congress and DMK’s new avatar against NEET today, after backing it when in power. He said the Jayalalithaa government challenged the notification and the SC quashed it and called it ultra vires of the Constitution. He also said that 13 students have allegedly ended their lives over NEET since Anitha’s suicide. Stalin and former DMK Minister KN Nehru said “wait for 8 months. After coming to power we will scrap NEET. If not, we will ensure mass copying”. This is against the Court verdict with false promises. TN CM blamed DMK for the death of 13 students. He said, “The party should not confuse and misguide the parents and students on NEET issue”. Interestingly out of the 15,97,000 students who sat for NEET on Sunday, 1,17,900 were from Tamil Nadu.
43 out of 45 questions in Physics, 43 of 45 questions in Chemistry and over 80 percent of the questions in Biology were from TN state board Syllabus
Many teachers have said that students do not fear NEET, but it was the societal pressure and false assurances of few politicians which made some students to not appear for NEET. Interestingly, DMK General Secretary Durai Murugan’s college in Katpadi was a NEET exam centre. His Kingston Engineering college offers coaching for NEET/JEE.
Senior Journalist Maalan Narayanan in his Facebook post said “I had seen the tweet by actor Suyra calling the youth to come together to fight against NEET and poet Magudeswaran’s stand that no test should be conducted to judge student’s knowledge. This could be the catalyst for students to end their precious lives”. He said according to the data from 2019, 15 lakh students competed for 97,000 MBBS and BDS seats in the country. In TN ,1 lakh students want to study but only 5,000 seats are available. On what basis they could be admitted? So NEET is the only option. From 1989 to 2006, all professional courses like MBBS, BDS,BSc Agri, BVSc, have their own entrance tests. After murmurs that well-to-do students were able to get coaching to face the tests which were denied to poor students, it was scrapped. Later, single window systems were brought in which gave weightage to marks obtained in Plus 2 public examination.
Narayanan further writes that the private schools intensified teaching by taking 12th standard portions in plus 1 period and the coming years were used to review their studies. There was mushrooming of schools in Namakkal and other places which targeted medical aspirants. In 2016, 1705 out of 3,200 seats were grabbed by students from Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Erode districts. Interestingly, 100 students from a particular school were able to gain admission. This is a dangerous trend. Between 2006 and 2016, when no NEET tests were conducted, students admitted in Government medical colleges were 29,925. Out of them, 213 studied in government schools. Competition, commercialization added with the parents mad rush to get their children into medical education, gave room for irregularities. The poor are the worst hit in this scenario. To end this, the state government has reserved 7.5 percent seats to government schools students besides giving them coaching for such tests. With the help of the Centre, 11 new medical colleges were opened creating 40% more seats. These are all done not to avoid NEET examinations but for politics”, said Maalan Narayanan in his post.
Maalan recalled that on 3rd March 2014, the then Congress led UPA-II government, Parliament standing Committee on Family welfare ministry submitted a report saying the bludgeoning of private medical institutions help the rich to study medicine and denying the chance to meritorious students who come from poor families. To change that, a common entrance test was needed, said the report.
Maalan pointed out students who write entrance tests for admission in IIT, IIM, CLAT and Civil service, CA never end their life but face it bravely with dedicated single minded aim of scoring good marks. But why are political parties misguiding the students with unfounded fears?, he asked. In the last week’s NEET exams, over one lakh sat for it but only three are alleged to have committed suicide. There are several qualifying examinations for state and central government jobs but no one ended their lives. Even teachers too write exams. In a student’s life examinations are inevitable. Keeping this in mind, political parties, parents, teaching community, media and pees, NGOS must work concretely which can do wonders for the students”, he wrote.
Coming down heavily on political parties and media, HC division bench headed by Justice N Kirupakaran while hearing a petition filed by A P Suryaprakasam, said the court in fact blamed the media and political parties for glorifying such suicides. “They line up before the victims’ family to give compensation. This suggests that whoever commited such suicide would get money. If this is stopped by the media and political parties and no publicity is given for such incidents, it might reduce”.
Tamil Actor Surya who opposes NEET today had released a book on NEET exams on 13th January 2017
HC Justice S M Subramaniam wrote to the Chief Justice AP Sahi to initiate action against actor Surya, which according to him amounted to contempt of court. Surya made some remarks against SC’s order allowing NEET examinations during the Covid 19 times. The statement alleges that Hon'ble judges are afraid of their own life and are rendering justice through video-conferencing and hence they have no morals to pass orders directing students to appear for NEET Exam without fear. Justice Subramaniam wrote “the said statement in my considered opinion amounts to contempt of court as the integrity of the Hon’ble judges as well as the judicial system of our Great Nation are undermined and showcased in a poor state. This is a threat for the public confidence in the judiciary”, he wrote.
Surya in the statement also alleged “‘Manu Neeti’ tests like NEET not only deprive our students of opportunities but also take their lives. In the Mahabharata, Dronacharya asked for Ekalavya’s thumb as guru dakshina for teaching him. The modern-day Dronacharyas are asking a class 6 student to prove his mettle by passing a test. For those who pass this, there are more fierce weapons awaiting like the NEET”.
Six former HC judges appealed the Chief Justice to not initiate any action against the actor while the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association condemned the actor’s statement. 25 advocates said that every criticism of the judiciary cannot be seen as contemptuous. But Surya on 13th January 2017 had released a book on NEET exams. Tamil Nadu Advocates Association president S Prabhakaran urged that action be initiated against actor Surya for his remarks on judiciary. He said “actor’s remarks are highly condemnable, downgrading the judicial function, defaming the hon’ble judges which cannot be accepted and he should be dealt appropriately and should face the contempt proceedings”.
Senior journalist Rangaraj Pande pointed out that to extend financial assistance to the needy, Surya’s Agaram foundations insists on community certificate, income certificate etc. Poor is a poor whether he belongs to scheduled caste or other castes. Why personal interview and marks for them? The rules of his own foundation say ‘rigorous selection process is conducted and those who come out of each selection stage, would be part of the program’. When even for financial help to students he has devised such rules, why can’t a government do the same? I am at a loss to understand why so much opposition to NEET. When the government decides to bring creamy layer in reservation, these political parties opposed it saying it is against social justice and alleged that by doing so, they are taking away the chances of the poor getting the benefits. They want these inequalities to continue”. People who commit suicide due to love failure is more than any other reasons. Can we say no to love and stop celebrating Valentine day? Deaths due to Liquor/drug addiction are increasing year after year. Can we demand complete liquor prohibition laws?
Sivaganga MP Karthi Chidambaram has said “I am for NEET. It is my personal opinion. I am supporting NEET examinations”.