Thiruvananthapuram, July 20 (BPNS)
The Kerala Police arrested five women including two lower grade employees of a private college for frisking girl students during the NEET examination. The arrested are S. Mariyamma and K. Mariyamma of Mar Thoma College, Ayur where the incident occurred, and Geetha, Jyotsna Joby, and Beena who are employees of the Star Training Academy, the private agency that conducted the exam in Kerala.
The arrested are charged with IPC Section 354 ( Assault or Criminal Force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty) and Section 509 (Word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).
The NTA which is responsible for the conduct of NEET examination had given the contract for the conduct of examination to a private agency in the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The state agency gave the sub-contract to an agency at Karunagapally who employed ten untrained personnel for the job who, according to the students were involved in the frisking incident.
A student who was subjected to the frisking said that she was forced to remove her innerwear and that when she asked how she could write the examination in such a situation, the women told her that every student was going through this.
The Mar Thoma College, Ayur where the incident took place witnessed huge protests from student organizations including violent protests.SFI, KSU, and ABVP carried out protest marches to the college and the college was vandalized.
Meanwhile, the families of those arrested are protesting before the Ayur police station against what they termed a wrongful arrest. Jobi father of Jyotsna who is arrested and remanded in judicial custody while speaking to media persons said, “ It was one Aravindakshan Pillai who had asked me whether I could provide a few people for duty during the NEET examination and he offered Rs 500 per head. I thought that my daughter and her friends could have an experience as they were idly sitting at home and hence agreed. Unfortunately this turned into a major issue for my child and her friends and others.”
The NTA or the Star Training Academy that outsourced the work to the untrained people at Karunagapally in Kollam district has not responded to the queries from the media regarding the same.
The NTA has constituted a fact-finding team to study the incident after Union Minister of State for External affairs, V. Muraleedharan, and Member of Parliament from Kollam Lok sabha seat, N.K. Premachandran took up the matter with the Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday.
The fact-finding team is scheduled to reach the examination centre and take information from students who were subjected to the ordeal of frisking including removal of innerwear during the examination. The Ministry of Education in a statement said that further action will be taken based on the report to be given by the fact-finding team.