The National Testing Agency has also constituted a fact-finding team which will reach Kollam to investigate the students’ allegations.

Representative image of students writing an examImage for representation
news Controversy Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 08:36

The Kerala police on Tuesday, July 19, arrested five people for allegedly forcing students at a NEET centre to remove their bras before entering the exam hall. While three of the arrested women worked for an agency hired by the National Testing Agency (NTA) — which conducts the NEET exams — two worked for the Mar Thoma Institute of Information Technology where the incident occurred.

The police registered a case based on the complaint of a student’s parent, which alleged that officials at the centre asked students to remove their bras before entering the exam hall on Sunday, July 17, as the metal hooks were a ‘security concern’. The case has been registered under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC. The complaint adds that the students were in a distressed condition and that they could not write the crucial exam properly due to the incident. Since then, more students who went to the same centre have come out with similar allegations as well.

Officials of the Mar Thoma Institute of Information Technology had earlier said that the officials responsible for the incident were sent from the NTA. However, the testing agency has denied receiving any complaints about the same, while some NTA-attached officials called the police complaint “fictitious” and done “with wrong intentions”. As the incident snowballed, protests were seen in Ayur, where the college is located, by student activists on Tuesday. Visuals showed agitating students smashing the windows of the institute using sticks, prompting the police to use force to remove them from the premises. Student activists entered the college premises breaking the police cordon, leading to vandalism, following which the police opened lathicharge on the protesting students.

Read: NTA denies receiving any complaints that Kerala students were forced to remove bras

Also read: Student outfits stage protest after NEET aspirants forced to remove bra before exam

Following this, the NTA has set up a fact-finding panel, after the Kerala government took up the issue with the Union government, seeking strict action.  Union minister V Muraleedharan and other public representatives from Kerala also met Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan regarding the issue.

Taking note of the allegation, the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) said that further action will be taken based on the findings of the fact-finding committee, which will visit Kollam to ascertain the facts.

Read: Outrageous, shameful: NCW as students forced to remove bras before NEET

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