Nine women protesting against the eligibility criteria for police recruitment in Madhya Pradesh have alleged that they were arrested and forced to undergo pregnancy tests in front of men in jail.
The women were arrested while they were protesting at an event attended by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal on Wednesday, PTI reported. They were demanding that the minimum height requirement be relaxed for the hiring of police constables be relaxed. They were released on Thursday.
The women claimed that Chouhan himself had promised that the height requirement would be relaxed by 3 cm. Women who apply for the post need to be at least 158 cm tall.
“They [Police] took our pregnancy test, male constables even peeped inside the changing rooms,” a woman told ANI. “We were made to sit with prisoners arrested for murder.”
“We were treated like criminals,” one of the women told Hindustan Times. “Once in jail, we were taken into a room where we were asked to go for a simple urine test but we knew it was a pregnancy test. But most discomforting moments were when the jail’s male personnel peeped into the room.”
Central Jail superintendent Dinesh Nargawe denied the allegation that the women were harassed and the test was done in front of men. He told PTI that the women were made to undergo a urine test, including for pregnancy, as stipulated by the prison manual.
“There is no question of women undergoing the test in front of men,” Nargawe said. “It is absolutely false.”
The women were arrested under Section 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, after which a sub-divisional magistrate’s court sent them to jail.