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With her dreams of becoming a doctor dashed owing to a low score in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), S. Anitha, who fought against the common entry test for medical colleges, committed suicide on Friday, said police citing her family. Her death united Tamil Nadu's opposition parties in condemning the Chief Minister K.Palaniswami government and also the BJP-led central government. Anitha, who had scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in the plus two exams under the Tamil Nadu state board, was however not able to score high marks in the NEET to secure a medical seat, and committed suicide, her relatives said.
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Hailing from a village in Ariyalur district, around 300 km from here, she was the daughter of a daily labourer. In her petition in the apex court against NEET, Anitha had said that rural students will not be able to compete against the students from the city if a common entrance exam is held for medical college seats. With a cut-off mark of 196.5, Anitha would have surely got admission into a medical college in the Tamil Nadu under the old system - that is admission based on the marks scored in plus two exams. In a statement issued here, former Union Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss blamed the central and the state governments for the tragedy.
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Expressing his condolences to Anitha's parents, he said the state government headed by Palaniswami and the central government should accept responsibility for her death as they had initially assured that Tamil Nadu will get one year exemption from NEET. The PMK leader said he was not able to understand as to why Anitha who took up the cause of rural students against NEET would commit suicide. Some student organisations held a protest here. Police took the agitators into custody and later released them. Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, who was seen on television screens constantly assuring the students that they would get exemption from NEET, on Friday urged the students not to resort such an extreme step. He promised help from the state government to Anitha's family.