Political parties, students' bodies, and pro-Tamil outfits have come on the streets to demand "justice" for the 17-year-old Anitha who dreamed of becoming the Doctor.
To pay the tribute to a medical aspirant, people like Dhinakaran has made a beeline from the Anitha's native village.
A daughter of daily wage labor fought courageously against discriminatory NEET- based medical examinations in the southern state.
But she allegedly committed suicide at her house in the Ariyalur district of the state. According to the reports, she was distress after it became known that Tamil Nadu will come under the ambit of the NEET.
Protesters have blocked road and rail services and ventured to demonstrate at the government offices. They also denounced the ruling AIADMK and the BJP party.
Police detained students while they are staging the protest near Chief Minister K Palaniswami's house. Lawyer Nalini, wife of senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram drew a flak by protesters. She represented pro-NEET supporters in court.
The CPI(M) and its student and youth affiliates, SFI and DYFI, also blocked the road and the police detained the party'state unit secretary G Ramakrishnan.
Protesters raised slogans against the central and state governments on the issue of NEET.
At Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli district, a "wailing protest" was held by women members of pro-Tamil 'Naam TamizharKatchi'. Hundreds of students and workers of various political parties and organizations were arrested at Coimbatore when they attempted to stage agitation on the issue.
A few students asked the Tamil Nadu government to take moral responsibility and step down from office and sought a judicial inquiry into the incident, police said. A group of workers belonging to Viduthalai ChiruthigalKatchi (VCK) assembled near Gandhipuram bus stand, blocked the road and raised slogans against the government and sought an exemption for Tamil Nadu from NEET.
Protests were also held in Salem, Madurai and Rameswaramby students' and youth outfits who demanded justice for the girl and sought immediate withdrawal of NEET.
Meanwhile, Anitha's mortal remains were kept at her native village in Ariyalur for the public to pay tributes. Among others, Dhinakaran, VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan, DK leader K Veeramani and a host of social activists, cinema personalities, and others paid tributes.
Some locals also raised slogans against Dhinakaran when he arrived at the girl's native village. Some of them claimed they opposed his visit as "he is part of the (ruling) AIADMK".
Dhinakaran later said that despite scoring "high marks" of 1176 out of 1200, Anitha could not get a medical seat.
"In the interest of the people of Tamil Nadu, Central government should cancel NEET," he said. Traders had also shut down shops in Ariyalur. At the receiving end for the teen's suicide, the BJP said NEET was a "pan-India issue" and that its admissions were based on the merit lists following a Supreme Court verdict.
NEET is being held in Tamil Nadu following the apex court order, BJP state President Tamilisai Sounderrajan said even as she regretted the death of Anitha. She claimed rural students have benefited more from NEET and that they have been highlighting the three attempts in the exam.
"Let this not be highlighted as brutal politics. State BJP wants no more Anithas," she said. Union Minister of State, Radhakrishnan said Anitha's death has caused "unbearable pain."
Condoling her death, he also expressed sympathies with her family. He further exhorted children to face their future with mental grit and urged politicians, activists, and others to make encouraging remarks for children.
Senior AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy SpeakerM Thambidurai said his party was not in favour of NEET and expressed regret over Anitha committing suicide.
"She could have avoided taking the step," he said. The apex court had last month asked the state government to start counseling for admissions to MBBS and BDS seats in the state based on NEET merit list.
It had given the directive after Centre told the court that it was not in favour of a recent ordinance passed by the state to exempt it from NEET this year.
Political leaders including DMK working president M K Stalin and Thol Thirumavalavan and actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, among others, had condoled Anitha's death. Political parties and other outfits in Tamil Nadu are opposed to NEET, saying it will affect rural students.
Early this year, the state assembly had unanimously adopted two resolutions to ensure the continuation of medical admissions in the state based on Class XII marks and not through an entrance exam, as envisaged by NEET.
(With PTI Inputs)