Head scarves were a strict no-no as were full sleeves, nose-pins and earrings and, in one centre in Kannur in Kerala, bras as well!
The strict adherence to the Central Board of Secondary Education’s anti-cheating dress code for those appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) saw an invigilator asking a student in Pariyaram in Kannur to remove her bra before writing the exam yesterday.
“After my daughter entered the exam centre, she came out and handed me her bra, saying she had been asked to remove it as per the CBSE dress code,” the student’s mother said.
She alleged that the invigilator had directed her daughter to do so after a metal detector emitted a “beep sound”. A metal hook in the innerwear appears to have set off the alarm.
While the Kerala Women s Commission has ordered a probe, Kannur District Police Chief G Siva Vikaram said a case would be registered if the parents or the girl filed a complaint.
“So far we have not received any complaint. The Special Branch has been asked to look into the incident,” he said.
The issue found echo in the state assembly with Education Minister C Raveendranath saying the government would look into the matter. However, state education department sources said the state had no role in the conduct of the NEET exam, taken by those who want to study a graduate medical course in the country.
All directions on its conduct were being given by the CBSE, they said.
CPI(M) MP P K Sreemathi also condemned the incident, saying the authorities would be held responsible if the girl failed to qualify as she had been “mentally harassed”.
But the issue quickly acquired political colour with V.M.
Sudheeran, former state unit chief of the Congress, demanding a government probe. “The ordeal (of the girl) was cruel and a blot on the state,” he said.
Different centres in Kerala and in neighbouring Tamil Nadu also reported instances of students being asked to remove their head scarves.
Boys and girls wearing full sleeves had their sleeves cut off. Some students were also asked to take off their shoes before entering the examination hall.
The opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu said the students had been harassed and humiliated.
“They (candidates) faced so much of harassment and were treated in ways they would feel humiliated… The DMK strongly condemns this. Action should be taken against those responsible for it,” DMK working president M.K. Stalin told reporters.
The DMK, which is opposed to the NEET, recalled its “wholehearted” support to state government bills in the assembly seeking exemption for Tamil Nadu students from the examination.
Meanwhile, film producer Kamaal Rashid Khan tweeted a video of girl NEET candidates’ full sleeves being cut with scissors.
Khan wrote, “BJP Ki Nazar main Har Deshwashi Chor hai. Even Ye Ladkiyan Bhi ChorHain. Shame on this govt to harass girls lik this. (sic)”