Four teachers of a school in Kannur, Kerala, were suspended on Tuesday over claims that they had asked National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test candidates to take off their bras in an attempt to curb cheating. Jamaluddin K, principal of Tisk English Medium School, told PTI that the four teachers will be off duty until an inquiry into the incident is completed.
Political leaders condemned Sunday’s incident in the Kerala Assembly. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he would bring the matter to the Centre’s notice and assured the House that the police have been asked to investigate the incident. “A woman police official has been directed to meet the student and her parents,” said Vijayan, according to PTI. The parents of the candidate who was asked to take off her bra are considering writing to the chief of the Central Board of Secondary Education, which conducts the Neet exams, and the National Human Rights Commission.
The CBSE has called the incident a “consequence of overzealousness”, but added that the dress code was needed to “secure the sanctity” of the exam. Spokesperson Rama Sharma said that the candidates were informed about the rules prior to the test. “In order to secure the sanctity of this prestigious examination and to do justice to the genuine and sincere students and parents, the CBSE has left no stone unturned to conduct the exam in a fair manner,” Sharma told PTI.
The CBSE had banned candidates from wearing full-sleeved clothes, dark-coloured trousers, closed or high-heeled shoes, big brooches, and any metallic objects including buttons, earrings and even hooks on innerwear such as bras. The board believed such standards would stop cases of cheating. The board had issued a circular on April 25 notifying students that they must keep the strict dress code in mind while appearing for the examination. The guidelines were introduced in 2015, after a test was cancelled.
On Sunday, an 18-year-old student was asked to remove her bra before taking the exam at a centre in Kannur. The Kerala wing of the Human Rights Commission had ordered an inquiry into the incident on Monday. The girl said it was a “humiliating experience” for her. She alleged she had to take off her bra right next to the metal detectors and hand it over to her mother, who was by the gate, because there were no restrooms nearby. “As I entered the exam hall to write the test, I had little confidence left in me,” she said.