New Delhi: The police in Kerala on Tuesday registered a case in connection with an alleged incident where young women and girls who appeared for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test were asked to remove their undergarments to be allowed to write the exam in Kollam district.
Police said a case has been registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) on the basis of a complaint of a girl who allegedly faced the humiliating experience while appearing for the NEET exam held at the Mar Thoma Institute of Information Technology, Ayur on Sunday.
The case was registered after a team of women officers recorded the statement of the girl, they said, adding that an investigation has been launched and the friskers who were allegedly involved in the act would be arrested soon.
The issue came to light on Monday when the father of a 17-year-old girl told the media that his daughter, who was sitting for her first-ever NEET exam, was yet to come out of the traumatic experience wherein she had to sit for the over three-hour-long exam without a bra.
The father had told a TV channel that his daughter was dressed as per the dress code mentioned in the NEET bulletin which did not say anything about innerwear.
Condemning the incident, various youth organisations had held protests seeking action against the culprits.
The Kerala State Human Rights Commission has also ordered an investigation into the incident. The Commission has directed the Kollam Rural SP to file a report within 15 days.
Kerala higher education minister R. Bindu has condemned the incident too. “It is reprehensible that girl students who appeared for the NEET-UG exam in Kollam were made to remove their innerwear before entering the exam hall. It is learnt that this was done by people from the agency conducting the examination,” she tweeted.
“Such an act, carried out without even taking basic human rights into consideration, was completely irresponsible to say the least,” she continued. “The Kerala govt will make its displeasure regarding this incident known to the Union government. Will also request caution from the part of the government to avoid a recurrence of such incidents in the future.”
She has written to Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan seeking strong action against the agency that allegedly forced the girls to take off their bra, NDTV reported.
Authorities of the private institute have claimed that none of their staff members were involved in the frisking. “There were two agencies assigned by the NTA for frisking and noting the biometric attendance. 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,” an official told The News Minute.
The NEET exam centre superintendent in Kollam has said to the National Testing Agency that the girl’s father’s complaint is “fictitious and filed with wrong intentions”.
Featured image: Candidates get their documents checked at the entrance of an examination centre before appearing for the NEET UG exam, in New Delhi, Sunday, July 17, 2022. Photo: PTI
This article was first published on The Wire, with PTI inputs.