On Sunday, nearly 100 female students faced humiliation as they were asked to take off their bras before going through the metal detectors and entering the exam hall in Kollam, Kerala. According to the dress code, wearing any metallic accessory or garment is prohibited in order to prevent cheating. While this stipulation refers to the metallic buckles in belt, it was used by the personnel against the metallic hooks and underwires in bras. The incident took place in Ayur College, Chadayamangalam in Marthoma Institute of Information Technology.
Parents of the traumatised students filed a complaint with the Kottarakka Deputy Superintendant of Police. After the case was filed, the centre superintendent and an independent observer reported that no such incident took place at the centre. The city coordinator even wrote a letter to the National Testing Agency (NTA) stating that the complaint levelled by the parents is fictitious and mal-intended. On receiving the letter, the NTA scrapped the complaint of the 17 year old who first filed the complaint. The centre even denied responsibility stating that the frisking and biometric scanning was done by external agencies. However, the undergarments were found dumped in cardboard boxes after the examinations, as per the students.
After many protests over the matter, some that even turned violent, five women were arrested for reportedly forcing female candidates to take off their bras. A fact-finding committee has also been constituted by the NTA to find out the truth about the matter. Three of the five women who were arrested were employees of the agency that was hired by the NTA and the other two worked for the institution. This is not the first time that such harassment has taken place at a NEET Centre. A female student undertaking the medical entrance examination in Kannur was also asked to remove her undergarments in 2017.