Ten women trainee clerks employed by the Surat Municipal Corporation were allegedly made to stand naked in a state-run hospital on Thursday while women doctors subjected them to a finger test and asked personal questions to check for pregnancy, The Times of India reported on Friday. This incident came to light days after 68 undergraduate students at a college in Bhuj town were forced to remove their undergarments to prove they were not menstruating.
In a complaint, the SMC Employees’ Union told municipal commissioners that when 100 employees went to the Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research for their mandatory fitness test, “female employees were forced to stand naked together in groups of around 10 in a room where they did not have any privacy”. A senior corporation employee said “the door was not properly closed and the only thing blocking the view from outside was a curtain”. Some of the women also accused the doctors who conducted the tests of behaving rudely with them.
“The issue was brought to the knowledge of SMCEU by a few trainee women employees out of the nearly 400 whose services will be regularised this year,” said AA Shaikh, the general secretary of the employees’ union. “On hearing about their trauma, we demanded an immediate halt to such insulting and inhuman tests. I have never heard such a test on women employees anywhere else.”
Shaikh said performing the finger test was demeaning. “If they [doctors] had any doubt about an employee’s health, they should have got tests done in an acceptable manner,” added the union official. “Asking even unmarried women about past pregnancies is downright insulting.” The two-finger test is an outlawed method for determining a woman’s virginity.
Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani on Friday ordered a probe into the allegations, and set up a three-member inquiry committee, and asked it to submit a report in 15 days, PTI reported. The committee comprises former dean of the medical college Dr Kalpana Desai, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Gayatri Jariwala, and Executive Engineer Trupti Kalathia.