The Cost of Holding JEE-NEET Exams in a Pandemic: TN Student Dies by Suicide Over Hall Ticket

Social Commentary

The Cost of Holding JEE-NEET Exams in a Pandemic: TN Student Dies by Suicide Over Hall Ticket

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The decision to hold the JEE and NEET exams in 2020, even as coronavirus cases continue to rise in most parts of the country, has been a controversial one, with lakhs of aspirants struggling to figure out how they will make it to exam centres.

This week tragedy struck in Tamil Nadu, after a young girl who was reportedly unable to download her admit card for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, took her own life by consuming pesticide.

It all started when 17-year-old, Harshima, a bright student  from Tamil Nadu who had always dreamed of being a doctor, misplaced her application number and security PIN, which led to an argument with her father, The New Indian Express reported.

The girl and her father had been informed just the previous day by a relative that the admit cards were available online. “Harshima’s cousin downloaded the admit card for NEET. When Ganesan asked Harshima about hers, she confessed that she had forgotten the application number,” a police officer was quoted as saying. “Ganesan then said that they would go to her school and get the admit card.”

When the father and daughter reached the school the following day, however, they were unable to find the teacher who could help them retrieve the application number. This led to another argument that night, the police said.

The next day, August 29, when she was alone at home, Harshima is said to have consumed pesticide. When her parents returned later that day, reports said, she complained of severe stomach pain and was taken to hospital immediately.

“Despite treatment, she died on the morning of September 1. A case has been registered and investigation is on,” another officer said. To make things worse, an India Today report said her hall ticket eventually had arrived the day before her death.

Earlier this week, an 18-year-old boy was said to have taken his life over the confusion surrounding the JEE dates, and the pressure it was putting on students.

The latest of these tragic incidents, from Tamil Nadu, comes just weeks before the NEET exams are scheduled to take place, after it was postponed twice over the coronavirus pandemic. The exams have led to a lot of confusion and protests from students across the country in the last few weeks.