Kerala police opened an investigation into an alleged incident in which a student was asked to remove her innerwear before taking the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) in the state’s Kollam district on Tuesday.
At the Chadayamangalam police station, which is part of the Kollam Rural police area, a case was opened under sections 354 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code. After the NEET test for undergraduate medical courses on July 18, a student at Kollam filed a complaint with the Superintendent of Police about the occurrence.
The student claimed in her complaint that she was required to take off her undergarments in order to enter the test room.
According to reports, the student’s parent claimed that girls were required to remove their underwear before being allowed to take the test, and they had to take it in front of male invigilators and other male students, which caused the girls to feel uneasy and negatively impacted their mental health.
“My daughter has been preparing for the NEET exam since 8th grade. We were confident that she would achieve a good rank on the test but due to this issue she was unable to concentrate and couldn’t properly write the exam,” a student’s father told ANI.
Citing the National Testing Agency’s guidelines, the parent also highlighted that according to the norms mandated by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts NEET had not mentioned any ban on any form of brassiere (bra) and hooks’.
“They were very uncomfortable. The guideline issued by NTA had not mentioned any ban on bras and hooks. We were following all guidelines. But the staff did not allow them to enter the classroom without removing inner-wear,” he added.
According to a statement released by the NTA, an independent and self-sufficient testing agency for administering entrance exams, neither the independent observer nor the city coordinator (NEET) of the Kollam district observed any such occurrence taking place at the exam centre.
“Centre Superintendent and Independent Observer as well as City Coordinator, Kollam district have stated that they did not find any such incident happening in the NEET examination centre (Mar Thoma Institute of Information Technology, Kollam). The candidate did take the exam,” said NTA officials.
The NTA further stated that no complaint was registered during or immediately after the examination.
“There was no complaint to anyone during or immediately after the examination. As far as NTA’s Dress Code for NEET is concerned it does not permit any such activity alleged by the parent of the candidate,” it added.
In a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Kerala’s Minister of Higher Education R Bindu expressed his “dismay and shock” at the reports of the “naked assault on the dignity and honour of the girl students” and asked for tough action against the organisation that made girls take off their underwear before entering the test centre near Kollam.
A suo moto case on the event has also been filed by the state’s women’s commission.