A 19-year-old student, Jublee Tamuli, was forced to wrap curtains around her legs for turning up in the examination hall in shorts. She described it as the “most humiliating experience”.
The incident took place on Wednesday, September 15, in a district named Tezpur in Assam when she had appeared for an entrance exam of the Assam Agricultural University (AAU). Jublee, along with her father, had traveled from their hometown Biswanath Chariali to Tezpur.
According to her, the security guards did not question her attire and let her enter the exam venue – Girijananda Chowdhury Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (GIPS) without any problem. However, the exam invigilator prohibited her from writing the examination.
She showed the invigilator her admit card, where no dress code was mentioned there. She also mentioned that she appeared for the NEET examination in the same attire, where she did not face any such issues as she faced here. Even then, the invigilator disagreed and said he could only allow her to sit for the exam if she could show up in full pants.
She then asked her father Babul Tamuli, to buy her some trousers. He said he dashed for it, but before he could return with the trousers from the market, the college officials had given his daughter a curtain to cover her legs.
“My daughter was traumatized and spoke to a few local journalists about the humiliating incident, and the issue became viral on social media. Many have condemned the incident, but many have attacked my daughter for not following a dress code in an educational institution, which has left her more mentally disturbed,” Mr. Tamuli was quoted as saying by PTI.
“We have decided not to proceed further and let the matter rest here in the interest of my daughter’s mental well-being. We want her to concentrate on her academic future,” he added, sharing that friends and relatives had urged the family to register a complaint.
“This is making a mountain out of a molehill and amounts to mental harassment of the student just before her exams. I feel sorry that society has become so regressive about what a girl wears. Such a mindset is dangerous for the safety and security of girls,” said Congress spokesperson Ms. Bobbeeta Sarma.
Gender rights activist Anurita Hazarika told PTI: “Would a boy be dealt with in the same manner if he had entered the examination hall wearing shorts, or was the girl singled out for her gender?” She said the incident amounted to sexual harassment if a male invigilator forcibly wrapped the cloth around her legs.
“People should give up this ‘Taliban-like attitude’,” said Jayanta Sarma, a professor of mass communication at KK Handique State Open University.