The NEET exams are being held on Sunday, even amid prolonged protest by parents and students alike over the past few months. The exams began on Sunday morning and saw candidates across the country arrive at the exam centres.
Glimpses were seen from various centres across the Southern states as well including Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu even as the exam was being conducted, protests were held in Madurai outside an exam centre following the mounting student suicide cases in the past week leading up to the exam.
Students arrive at exam centres
In Karnataka, the NEET exam will be conducted between 2 pm and 5 pm across the country, in various states by the National Testing Agency. Following all the COVID-19 protocols and numerous social distancing measures, candidates had begun arriving at the centres to write the exam.
Students were seen at the exam centres in Karnataka and other states across the country. At a centre in Bengaluru, a candidate told ANI, "We have studied so much, it is right that we are getting this opportunity to write the examination."
Students were also seen arriving for the exam in Chattisgarh for temperature checks:
The NEET is being held after much protest and confusion with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This time the exams will be held with extra precautions in place. In Chennai, a candidate turned up at one of the centres wearing a full PPE kit. While students have been allowed to wear masks and gloves to the exam, it was unclear if PPE kits were allowed.
A candidate in Chennai told ANI, "NEET is just an exam. There's nothing to fear about. If not cleared this time, we can reappear next year."
For the candidates, the exam is a culmination of a long hard journey of preparation and many battles as this test will decide their entry into medical colleges across India.
Student suicides lead to protest in Tamil Nadu
In Tamil Nadu, there has been much unrest over NEET being conducted in the state over the past few days. The opposition in Tamil Nadu has been taking a hard stance against NEET. This reaction is due to the numerous cases of suicide among prospective candidates reported in the past week.
5 such instances were reported over the last week, raising concern on both the pressure and the circumstances under which students are writing the all-India exam this year. Aditya from Dharmapuri who had attempted the exam last year was found dead in his home last week. The second case was that of Motilal from Namakkal. Another case was that of a 19-year old Jyoti Sri Durga in Madurai hung herself leading to despair. Jyoti's final words were, "I am sorry, I am tired," which moved the internet
On Sunday outside an exam centre in Madurai, many came out to protest the exam, even as the police tried to curb the protest.