KOCHI: More shocking details have emerged regarding the controversial National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) exam incident in Kollam with students telling investigators they were forced to sit in front of male candidates and invigilators without wearing innerwear in transparent dresses. A staff-member at the exam centre also asked a student: “Which is your priority, your future or your dress?”
These details were presented before the Kerala High Court on Friday, in a statement filed by the Kollam district police chief. The police statement said the complainant in the case was reluctant to remove the innerwear as it was embarrassing to appear before others in that manner as she was wearing a T-shirt.
“She was compelled by the cleaning staff to remove the dress and to appear for the exam, asking which is her priority, either her future or dress,” the police submitted.
The candidates were sent to a cabin under the stair room used by the cleaning staff to remove their innerwear having metal hooks, the statement added. Senior Government Pleader K P Harish submitted that the government had taken immediate action against the culprits. A letter was sent to the state-level officer of the National Testing Agency (NTA) seeking all specific details pertaining to the exam, including the criteria for the selection of the examination centre.
He also submitted that, during investigation, the girl candidates told the police that the authorities insisted that they remove their innerwear, and that forced them to sit in front of male candidates and invigilators without wearing innerwear in transparent dresses.
The police also submitted that though the chief coordinator of the examination centre and the NTA observer -- who were present at the exam centre -- were aware of the incidents, they did not take any rational decision or intervene to clarify or avoid such untoward incidents, which left the candidates and their parents traumatised. The act of compelling the candidates to remove their innerwear definitely insults their privacy and modesty, the police submitted further.
The NTA said that it has constituted a fact-finding committee and further action will be taken based on the committee’s report. The NTA made the submission when the petition was filed by Asif Azad, Party-in-Person, seeking a directive to award compensation to the girl candidates for the trauma and stress caused by the incident. According to the NTA, the affected students have not sought any counselling or any compensation, as the petitioner has sought in the public interest litigation (PIL).
“The incident was only an accidental one and a case has already been registered at the Chadayamangalam police station. All the accused involved in the case have been arrested. Later, they were released on bail. The investigation by the police is progressing,” the NTA submitted. To oversee the arrangements and to ensure a smooth conduct of these examinations, a large number of coordinators, observers and central superintendent have been appointed, the NTA said.
Besides, mobile jammers and CCTV cameras have been installed at the centres. The NTA submitted that more than 18 lakh students appeared for the exam held in 497 cities, including 14 outside India, at 3,570 examination centres. The petitioner also sought to issue a common protocol for the conduct of the exam. The court has reserved its order.
- The police statement said the complainant in the case was reluctant to remove the innerwear as it was embarrassing to appear before others in that manner as she was wearing a T-shirt.
- The candidates were sent to a cabin under the stair room used by the cleaning staff to remove their innerwear having metal hooks, it added