Kozhikode: The female candidates who wrote the NEET examination conducted at the Lion’s School, Koppam, Palakkad, on May 7 came under the close gaze of a male invigilator, not as part of ‘vigilance,’ but for vicarious pleasure.
The girls received special attention from him as they had been forced to remove their innerware after the authorities claimed that the hook at their back contained metal which broke the rules.
A girl realised that he was not looking particularly at her face. “I’m sure he had managed to scan everywhere other than our faces. It was such a mental torture,” she said.
“Though there were two female invigilators, the male observer frequented the hall and stared at us making us so uncomfortable,” said the candidate who preferred anonymity.
She has filed a complaint at the Palakkad North police station against the observer for "his abusive gaze and making her feel like leaving the classroom."
An FIR was registered under IPC section 509, eve-teasing(word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).
The Plus-Two candidates, who appeared for the all-India medical entrance examination, had to change their dress and remove the innerware in the class room itself.
The issue was brought to light by makeup artist Aaziya Shafi, a relative of the student, who launched a campaign against the incident through an Instagram post which went viral on social networking sites.
Though the CBSE had earlier alerted the candidates about its so-called ‘dress code,’ none imagined that their undergarments would matter as they have a 'huge' metal hook behind.
“The candidates, who wore light-coloured thin clothes, had to guard themselves with the question paper against the penetrating eyes of the invigilator,” Aaziya told DC. “I want the public to know this and take precaution next year to avoid such embarrassment,” she said. “This incident should force others with similar experiences to come out and protest,” she added.
There had been several similar incidents earlier but the girls did not raise complaints. They had to remove their dresses to prove their innocence; the boys had to remove the metal button on their jeans, and a few had to cut the jeans. Some girls had to cut their sleeves off as they covered the full hand.
Palakkad north sub-inspector R. Renjith told DC that a primary investigation in the case was over. “The police team gathered evidence and the details from the examination centre at Koppam,” he said. The CBSE would be contacted to identify the observer, he said.
A CBSE top official told DC that they had constituted an inquiry committee to look into the issue. The CBSE had not received any information on the case registered in Palakkad, he said. “If there was any proven violation by the invigilator, action will be taken,” he added.
It may be recalled that last year too the invigilators had forcibly removed the bra of some candidates in Kannur during the NEET. Later, the CBSE clarified that “it was the consequence of the over-zealousness of a few persons involved in the process.”