Her only fault was to expect education with ethics. Sandhya Kamal refused to copy, for which she was manhandled and dragged on the road, even as two police constables stood by, asked some questions and watched.
Sandhya (22), a resident of R T Nagar, was subjected to this treatment on Wednesday during the ongoing MA English correspondence exams of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) in St Joseph’s Industrial Training Institute exam centre on Krishnagiri Road, Hosur. She was allotted this centre as there was no other closer to her.
Authorities at the exam centre allegedly allowed candidates to copy from textbooks and charged `500 for the “help”. On Thursday, Sandhya was asked by authorities to pay up. She refused, decided that she did not need a master’s degree in this manner and stormed out.
Meanwhile, her father Kamal Keelery, a consultant who had peeped in to see the situation, was caught taking a picture of the exam hall. “My father was manhandled. Four boys in the ITI uniform physically dragged me back towards the college. I started screaming. They took me by my hands and shoulders. I was dragged across the road into a side lane. They tried to lift me off the ground, holding my legs. I screamed and struggled. I kicked at them, but nothing seemed to work till they finally put me down on the road. I could hear the constable question the boys.”
The trauma started on day one of the exams (June 15). Ten minutes into the exam, invigilators apparently announced that they would charge Rs 500 as “hall expenses”. When Sandhya enquired what this was, one of them told her that they would help candidates use textbooks.
“They said it was an open-book exam. I wasn’t sure what to believe. I looked around and everyone was copying from textbooks. I decided not to use mine. I was the first to finish. I submitted my paper and left,” she said.
She reached early for the second paper. “I was excited to write about my favourite — Shakespeare. Candidates’ husbands had come and everyone discussed answers freely, as if the textbook wasn’t enough.
Sandhya has decided to boycott the remaining exams. “This isn’t education,” she said.
KSOU Vice-Chancellor M G Krishnan told Express that the university has cancelled the St Joseph’s Industrial Training Institute exam centre on Krishnagiri Road, Hosur, where MA candidate Sandhya Kamal was allegedly manhandled for not copying. An enquiry had been constituted into this episode.
“Action will be taken on whoever is responsible for manhandling the student. We can afford lapses in some aspects of administration, but certainly not in examinations. We have been sincerely trying to revamp our exam system,” he said, when asked about about similar incidents of mass copying in KSOU exams, including one reported in January.
Meanwhile, Sandhya and her family have filed a complaint at the all-woman police station in Hosur on Friday.
“We have registered the case under Section 341 of IPC and 4 of Tamil Nadu Women Harassment Act. So far, no arrest has been made in this regard, but action will definitely be initiated,” said Jyothi, Head Constable.