Teachers suspended after girl had to take off bra before test

NEW DELHI • Four teachers have been suspended in the Indian state of Kerala after a student said she had been made to remove her bra in public over exam-cheating fears minutes before sitting a crucial test.

The suspension came a day after the authorities in the state initiated a probe into the allegation by the 18-year-old student.

There are strict dress codes in India to tackle widespread cheating on the entrance test for the country's prestigious medical colleges. But there is no mention of bras on this year's list of prohibited articles, which include dark clothes, long sleeves, brooches, badges, closed shoes and socks.

The student, who has not been identified, told the media she was at a test centre on Sunday when a metal detector beeped during a security check.

"At that time, they told (me) that without removing my innerwear, I cannot enter the exam hall since they (bra hooks) are made of metal. So I took off my bra there itself and gave it to my mum. She was waiting outside," the student told NDTV news network.

The girl was quoted in The Times of India as saying that she lost all her "confidence and composure when I was asked to remove (the bra) in front of everybody".

Another student's parent said his daughter was forced to remove a button on her jeans after it set off the metal detector.

"Then I went to a shop about 3km from the exam centre and bought a new dress for her after getting the shop opened," the girl's father told NDTV.

The school principal said he was unaware of the student's underwear ordeal but admitted that his school stuck to the rules.

"We have clear instructions that if the metal detector beeps, no one can be allowed inside. Whenever it beeped, we told students to remove what they had," Mr Jalaluddin K. told NDTV.

Cheating in exams is common in India, including paying large bribes to buy test papers, although there have been more elaborate ruses. Hundreds of people were arrested in eastern Bihar state in 2015 for scaling the walls of schools and providing crib sheets and study materials to their relatives during exams.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'Teachers suspended after girl had to take off bra before test'. Print Edition | Subscribe