The Bihar Post

Indian students made to take exam in underwear as Patna High Court seeks reply from Defence Ministry

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PATNA: A picture is worth a thousand words but this one tells more than that. It says how Bihar once notorious for incidents of cheating at the examination centres, has slowly lost its credibility in general and the students in particular, and that none trusts them anymore.

The “credulity crisis” is such that the poor students are being routinely made to pass through rigorous body searches at the exam centres, quite in the fashion of dreaded terrorists. So far, they were asked to remove only their shirts, shoes and shocks but a latest trend shows they are being allowed to sit in the exam only in underwear!.

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That’s what exactly happened on during a recruitment test conducted by the Army in Muzaffarpur for the post of clerks. Some 1,150 candidates who reached the centre in the hope of making it to the Army were first asked to remove their all clothing and made to sit in the test only in underwear under the open sky in a local ground to ensure they don’t cheat at any cost. They had no option but to sit cross-legged in near-bare body. Media reports have said this was done to “save time” to be wasted on frisking so many students.

Witnesses said quite many students were seen wiping their sweats at regular intervals while taking exam in the open ground under the scorching sun. The sweats even spoiled their answer-sheets as they dribbled, causing much inconvenience to the students.

“We do not expect to appear for such large-scale examinations in halls, but telling us to remove our clothes was not dignified,” a student was quoted as saying in The Indian Express.  

Meanwhile, the Patna High Court has sought a reply from the Defence Ministry over the issue. The court took up the matter for hearing today after taking a suo moto cognizance of the case. The court has fixed the next date of hearing on April 5.

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The court came in to action after it was informed of such incident published in a local Hindi daily. “That was an inhuman act. The poor students were made to appear in the exam only in underwear. The court should initiate action against the guilty officials,” said a local lawyer Deenu Kumar.

In a related development, defence minister Manohar Parrikar has sought a report form Army chief over the issue.

Last week, an intermediate student had come to an exam centre in Chapra only in vest and towel, irked at the rigorous body searches by the exam officials prior to entering the exam halls. Initially, the authorities were reluctant to allow him appear at the exam but later they allowed him to give his test.

The incidents are said to be the outcome of last year’s scene outside at an exam centre in Bihar where guardians and relatives were seen climbing up to the walls of a multi-storyed exam hall, and supplying cheats to their wards to ensure they gets good marks in the matriculation examination. As the incident went viral in the media, the authorities have tightened measures to curb checking this time, apparently taking a lesson from last year’s embarrassment.

“But what happened on Sunday during the Army recruitment exam was too much,” say residents, adding “The incident shows Bihar in poor light”.

Image caption: This picture was tweeted by @ANI_news

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