Four students, who had to appear for the highly competitive NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), died by suicide this week in Tamil Nadu.

The entrance exam for medical courses will be held today across the country amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Two students Aditya and Jothisri were found dead yesterday. Twenty-year-old Motilal, son of a trader in Tiruchengode town of Tamil Nadu, could not clear the entrance exam last year; he was to re-appear today.

All these prompting the opposition parties to demand the scrapping of the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET).

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday lashed out at the BJP, saying the suicide by a Tamil Nadu girl student on the eve of NEET was the murder of the “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao” slogan.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a batch of pleas seeking deferment or cancellation of exam scheduled for Sunday, saying the authorities will take all necessary steps for conducting it amid the COVID-19.

Referring to the girl’s suicide, the SP chief in a tweet asked the BJP who was responsible for her “murder”. “The news of suicide by a medical aspirant in Madurai yesterday has shocked every family,” he said while paying tributes to the girl.

“Heartless BJP should tell who is responsible for this. This is a murder. Along with this, the slogan of ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao (teach daughter, save daughter) has also been murdered,” he said.

In Madurai, Jyothi Sridurga was studying for the medical entrance exam with the pressure of failure overwhelming her. She hanged herself at her residence on Saturday.

The 19-year-old daughter of a policeman left a taped audio message in which she conveyed her apologies to her parents for her decision and requested not to blame anyone. A purported suicide note left behind by her said she was ‘apprehensive’ about NEET though others had high ‘hopes’ on her.

His death drew sharp responses from Tamil Nadu political parties opposed to NEET, even as Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam of the ruling AIADMK expressed shock over the incident.

DMK President M K Stalin said NEET “is not an exam at all.” Taking to Twitter, Palaniswami expressed grief over the “sad” incident and said students have many avenues to taste success and resorting to such extreme steps was distressing.

Political party leaders in Tamil Nadu expressed sorrow and demanded the central government to scrap NEET at least in the state.

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Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in a tweet expressed his pain at the suicide of the students.

He said the students should develop will power to face challenges. Panneerselvam also said the parents should also extend support to their children.

According to Minister for School Education K A Sengottaiyan, the state ADMK government is against NEET.

PMK Founder S Ramadoss urged the central government to cancel the exam in Tamil Nadu.

MDMK founder and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko slammed the BJP-led Centre, saying suicides of students in the state was happening due to the “imposition” of NEET on them.

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader and independent legislator, T T V Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan also expressed anguish over the deaths.