Ariyalur Medical College hall named after NEET ‘warrior’ Anitha; brother seeks concrete action against exam

Remembering the legal battle of Anitha against NEET in the top court, the CM announced the auditorium would be named Anitha Memorial Stadium.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Mar 15, 2023 | 7:17 AMUpdatedMar 15, 2023 | 7:17 AM

The auditorium was inaugurated by Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin and preceded over by Health Minister Ma Subramanian, VCK President MP Thol Thirumavalavan, and Transport Minister Shiva Shankar. (Supplied)

On Tuesday, 14 March, Chief Minister MK Stalin named the newly-built auditorium at Ariyalur Government Medical College after Anitha, the girl who ended her life after failing to secure a medical seat through NEET despite scoring good marks in the board exams.

The 850-seat auditorium has been constructed at the cost of ₹22 crore in the medical college that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2022.

The auditorium was inaugurated by Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin at an event attended by Health Minister Ma Subramanian, VCK President MP Thol Thirumavalavan, and Transport Minister Shiva Shankar.

Also Read: Another life lost over NEET in TN: Teen dies by suicide over results

Remembering Anitha

Remembering the legal battle of S Anitha, whose ambition was to become a doctor, against NEET in the Supreme Court, the chief minister announced that the auditorium would be named Anitha Memorial Stadium.

A statement issued by the chief minister stated that Anitha, realising that students from villages can’t achieve their medical studies dream through NEET exams, took on a legal battle against the medical entrance exam.

“Even after securing 1,176 marks out of 1,200, she was denied a medical seat because of NEET, and her suicide — nine days after the Supreme Court judgement favouring NEET — showed the cruel nature of NEET to the world,” Stalin said.

After the DMK came to power, it formed a committee headed by retired Justice AK Rajan and after the recommendation by secretaries of the government, an anti-NEET Bill was passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly and sent to the Governor.

“Though the Governor returned the Bill, we readopted the Bill unanimously in the Assembly and sent it to Governor, who, in turn, sent it to the President for approval where it is still under consideration,” Stalin said.

Stalin further said that his government is continuously insisting that the Union government give exclusion from the medical entrance exam to Tamil Nadu.

Also Read: SC dismisses pleas seeking postponement of NEET-PG exam

‘Happy they have acknowledged Anitha’s sacrifice’ 

Speaking to South First, S Manirathinam, Anitha’s brother, said, “By naming the auditorium after Anitha, I see that the government acknowledges the struggles of my sister in eradicating NEET from the state.”

“As there was no way left and all the doors had been closed, she gave up her life, dreams, and ambitions and it should not happen to any other underprivileged student who is qualified to pursue their medical dreams,” Manirathinam said.

When asked about the Union government’s stand in not providing relaxation to Tamil Nadu from NEET, Manirathinam said: “I expect concrete action… like former chief ministers who had taken indefinite hunger strikes as their weapon to achieve the demands of the state.

“MGR (MG Ramachandran) led a hunger strike against the Union government demanding proper rice allocation to the state, Jayalalithaa went on an indefinite hunger strike over the Cauvery issue, Kalaingar Karunanidhi, while he was a chief minister, started a hunger strike to stop the war in Eelam. Likewise, there should be a strong protest from our government.”

It is to be noted that during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Udhayanidhi Stalin reiterated the state’s request to provide relaxation from NEET and vowed continued battles against the medical exam.

Why Anitha’s name

The daughter of daily-wager Shanmugam from Ariyalur, 17-year-old Anitha — from a Scheduled Caste community — had scored 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in her Class 12 state board examinations.

Due to the mandate of NEET in 2017, she could not join the MBBS course. Later, she challenged NEET in the Supreme Court, where the court refused to strike down the medical entrance exam.

She died by suicide in Ariyalur district on 1 September, 2017, following the verdict.

If medical admissions had been held based on Class 12 board exam marks, having scored a centum in Mathematics and Physics, 199 in Chemistry, and 194 in Biology — an expected cut-off of 196.75 out of 200 — Anitha would have qualified for an MBBS seat in a government medical college.

Anitha’s death has only intensified the state’s protests against NEET.