On Monday ( 29 February), a photo by ANI news agency of over 1100 candidates in their underwear undergoing written entrance test for army jobs went viral.
This happened in Muzaffarpur, the biggest city of north Bihar.
The report said that this was to ensure that candidates did not resort to cheating in exams.
Over 1100 candidates, aspiring to join the army, were asked to undress themselves and sit cross-legged in Muzaffarpur’s famous Chakkar Maidan before writing the papers.
Quoting candidates, Indian Express reported that they were ordered to do so by supervisors to ensure they don’t cheat in the recruitment exam for soldiers on general duty and in the clerical and technical categories.
According to the paper, the army officers on duty had taken this step to save time on frisking the candidates.
However, candidates didn’t find it dignified and appeared hurt by Indian army’s decision to undress them for examination.
“As we entered Chakkar Maidan, the venue, we were asked to remove all clothes except underwear. We had no option but to comply with the instructions even though it felt odd. The gap between candidates was about eight feet in all directions.
“We do not expect to appear for such largescale examinations in halls, but telling us to remove our clothes was not dignified,” said one candidate.
Bihar has been notorious for cheating in exams. Last year, parents and relatives climbing on three-storey building of examination centre to supply answer chits to candidates had attracted widespread condemnation.
Meanwhile, Patna High Court has intervened in the matter and sought reply from the Defence Secretary. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on 5 April.
This prompted the Union Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, to seek an explanation from the army chief General Dalbir Suhag.