Outcry after teenage students forced to remove bra at exam hall in India

·3-min read

Police in India registered a case after a student appearing for the national medical examination was told to take off her underwear.

The incident took place in the southern Indian state of Kerala last Sunday, when the girl was allegedly told she would not be allowed inside the exam centre if she refuses to remove her bra.

Reporting the incident to the superintendent of police in Kollam, the girl’s father said “many students” appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Neet) at Mar Thomas Institute of Information and Technology were forced to take off their underwear, even though the norms do not mandate it.

Neet is the qualifying entrance exam in India for admission to medical colleges. Up to 18 lakh students registered for the exam and it was held in over 3,500 centres across 497 cities including 14 cities outside the country.

“There were many in that room…others were weeping… When students refused to remove their innerwear, they were asked whether their future or innerwear was important,” he said in the complaint.

The incident sparked a huge outrage, with the state’s higher education minister calling the incident “highly deplorable”.

Slamming the National Testing Agency (NTA), which is responsible for conducting the exam, Dr R Bindu said: “There is a serious lapse on the part of the agency and its staff [who frisked the girls].”

“It is highly deplorable that such an approach has been taken toward the girls without giving any consideration to their basic human rights. The state will take up the incident with the central government and NTA.”

The police have also registered a case under sections related to outraging the “modesty of women” under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

“We haven’t named any person as the alleged accused,” a police officer told The Indian Express. “We have to identify the agency which was in charge of frisking the students at the exam centre and then have to find the woman who allegedly asked the girl to remove their innerwear.”

A spokesperson of the exam centre clarified that the institute was not involved and the frisking was done by the NTA staff.

“There were two agencies assigned by the NTA for frisking and noting the biometric attendance,” an official at Mar Thomas Institute of Information and Technology told TheNews Minute.

“We have no clue what the rules on this are. It is the agency’s staff who check all this. In some cases, when the children came crying to us, asking permission to wear a shawl, we intervened and allowed them to do so.”

The NTA, meanwhile, said it had not received any complaint in the matter.

“The dress code provides for ensuring the sanctity and fairness of conducting the examination while observing sensitivity towards the gender/religious/cultural/regional sensitivities involved in frisking/biometric of candidates,” it added.

The agency’s director-general Vineet Joshi added that the staff responsible for frisking the student are “made to undergo training sessions on how to handle frisking sensitively”.

As per the dress code by the NTA, candidates are to be checked thoroughly for tiny communication devices like Bluetooth or camera if they are “wearing garments with full sleeves, with big buttons or badges, brooches”, reported The Print.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting