Members of Makkal Pathai, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), were arrested by police in the early hours of Sunday as they continued a fast unto death protest that they had begun last Sunday, against the National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test (NEET).
Makkal Pathai is an organisation headed by S. Nagalsamy that works for social reformation. Six members -- M.S. Chandramohan, S. Aravindh, A. Tamizhselvi, R. Aruna, V. Kasinathadurai and K. Geetha began the fast unto death at their office premises at Sri Ayyappa Colony, Virugambakkam last Sunday. Other members joined them, in phases.
Mr. Vetriselvi, an office-bearer of the organisation, said, Our members were conducting a peaceful agitation in our office premises demanding the scrapping of NEET. Rural and poor students are not able to attend coaching classes by paying huge amounts, or to pass NEET to become doctors. Moreover, more than 10 students have ended their lives due to exam pressure. So we want NEET to be banned to save the lives of young medical aspirants.
On the seventh day of their protest on Sunday, police personnel from Koyambedu Police station forcibly entered the premises and arrested 40 persons along with the six who were fasting. Mr. Chandramohan said, This is the seventh day of our protest. At 6.30 am, the police came and scaled our gates. They also beat us, and the volunteers who had gathered here.
We were sitting inside our premises and conducting our agitations peacefully all these days. We told the police that we were ready to give up our agitation if any representative from the government met us. All of sudden the police entered our premises and forcibly removed our members. They also damaged our property and injured some of our members, Mr. Vetriselvi said.
Six members have been admitted to Government Medical College Hospital, Kilpauk.