Demand justice for Anitha!

Anita's Death
Photo: Daily Hunt

Millions and millions of people in Tamil Nadu are heavy heartedly grieving over the death of the young student Anitha. There is a general feeling of an unbearable loss particularly amongst those who supported Anitha’s fight against the system over the NEET exams! Many lost a sister, a daughter, a family member with Anitha’s tragic death. Spontaneous protests are erupting everywhere regardless of very high police alert show the outrage amongst the people in general. Students, activists and young workers are all in a combat mood against the system right now.

Aspiring to study medicine – Anitha, a 17 year old girl from an impoverished Dalit family, daughter of a daily wage labourer, has overtaken countless hurdles in her life to obtain very high standards of marks that will ensure her long cherished dream of a getting a medical seat. She has scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in her Class XII State Board exams! But the fatal blow was struck by the central government and the Supreme Court’s imposition of the NEET exams, despite the ongoing resistance against NEET in Tamil Nadu. With the spineless Tamil Nadu government who are playing a second fiddle to Modi at the centre – the state government actually did very little to protect the aspirations of millions of students like Anitha who lack the accesses to the very expensive NEET training/ tuition centres. Precisely why Anitha who scored exceptionally well in the state board exams was not able to secure enough marks in the NEET test that was based on the CBSE syllabus. Anitha nevertheless lead the fight in the Supreme Court against the NEET exams. Very articulately Anitha expressed the real concerns of millions of students like herself over the NEET exams.

National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is an entrance examination to the undergraduate medical courses including MBBS – was proposed to be a common exam for all the students in India conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). At the same time a large majority of the Tamil Nadu students are from State board schools with state curriculum based syllabus and not following the CBSE syllabus. And right from the beginning this ‘so called’ idea of common entrance exam was opposed by many activists across India and the most vehement opposition to NEET came from Tamil Nadu! A lot of students and their family members were obviously traumatised by the uncertainties in the implementation of the exams amidst of the political circus of the state government; the ruling ADMK party factions were busy looking after their own naked interests and least bothered about the problems and the needs of the people. With BJP ministers like Nirmala Sitharaman’s irresponsible false promises that the Central govt would grant a one-time exemption from NEET-based admissions through an ordinance, only to backtrack later have all contributed to the grave disappointment amongst a lot of young people.

Also it’s clear that those in the privileged layers would be the most to gain from the NEET exams, in other words it’s students like Anitha who are set out to lose the most! With many first generation graduate aspirant like Anitha – the support system to well-funded schools, tuition classes, CBSE syllabus bases curriculum, the very basic social infrastructure, and the family support are all appallingly inadequate! Without doubt this NEET exam will favour those who have the access and affordability to get equip with the preparation and support! It’s like cruelly snatching the opportunities from the students belonging to the simple and ordinary background for whom the available public education however scanty and underfunded it is nevertheless an opportunity to climb up the socio-economic ladder; and interventions like NEET would mercilessly decimate their only available few stepping stones! 

We strongly condemn the Central government and its system of the privileged for this shameless under the belt attack on the oppressed communities. And we from New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) are in solidarity with all the activists who are at present keeping up the struggle to demand justice for the institutional murder of Anitha!

We demand

– an immediate resignation of this useless state government! 

– scrap NEET exams. 

– Bring education to the state list.

-Quality Education that is Universally available to all

Adequately funded Schools and Colleges, with state of the art infrastructure.

-Stop the Privatisation of Education.

– Caste and Communal bias in the education system must stop.

It’s important to make sure there will be well funded schools, adequate educational and social infrastructure, well paid jobs and sustainable development of the available resources. All this things vital for a decent society, sounds like a mirage in this capitalist system. It’s exactly why we need to mobilise all these mass upsurges towards ‘changing the system’!

The rising inequalities and widespread poverty clearly indicates the present system has miserably failed to tackle poverty and impoverishment. We demand a change! Only by linking our programs for change with nationalising the main areas of economy under the democratic workers’ control the economic drivers for the ‘revolutionary change’ would be unleashed. It’s important that we all should come forward to build a broad campaign harnessing the aspirations of hundreds and thousands of people and activists across various movements for a democratic socialist society. Only this will make sure that in future every student like Anitha can cherish their aspirations and follow their dreams!