Five women, including two low-grade employees of a private college, were arrested on Wednesday for frisking NEET girl aspirants and purportedly making one remove her innerwear during the examination at a centre in Kerala, police said.
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 were charged under the IPC's 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 Thiruvananthapuram, and this gave the sub-contract to an agency at Karunagapally who employed 10 untrained personnel, who, according to the students, were involved in the 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 organisations including violent protests. The SFI, KSU, and ABVP carried out protest marches and the college was vandalised.
Meanwhile, the families of those arrested are protesting before the Ayur police station against what they termed a wrongful arrest. Jobi, father of Jyotsna, told media persons that a man named Aravindakshan Pillai had asked him whether he 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 have not responded to the queries from the media regarding the same.
The NTA has constituted a fact-finding team to study the incident after Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan, and Member of Parliament from Kollam, N.K. Premachandran took up the matter with 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 the 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.