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State board inquiry claims Pune female HSC students searched, not stripped

‘No strip-search was undertaken by female security guards at the exam centre, though the students were searched normally for material that could possibly help them copy or cheat during the exam’

pune Updated: Mar 04, 2018 23:02 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
HT, Pune
HSC,stripped,strip-search
Bags kept outside during the HSC board exams at Bhave school, Sadashiv Peth. Checking of students and bags is normal procedure before the exam. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

A day after female students appearing for Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam at the MIT Vishwashanti Gurukul higher secondary school in Loni-Kalbhor alleged that they were strip searched, the preliminary report of an inquiry carried out by the Maharashtra state board of secondary and higher secondary education seemed to give a clean chit to the institute in question.

In their complaint, the students said the checking happened first on February 21 and was repeated on February 26 and February 28 at the gates and on the campus of Vishwashanti Gurukul, MIT.

State board chairperson Shakuntala Kale, refuting allegations made by female students, said that no strip-search was undertaken by female security guards at the exam centre, though the students were searched normally for material that could possibly help them copy or cheat during the exam.

“We sent a two-member committee to the centre to asses whether the allegations made by the female students had any element of truth. However, the initial report submitted by the team suggests that no strip-search was undertaken at the centre. Students were searched normally, which is a routine during the examination,” Kale said.

Two women security employees of Vishwashanti Gurukul, Maharashtra institute of technology (MIT) of Maharashtra academy of engineering and educational research (MAEER), Loni-Kalbhor, were booked by Loni-Kalbhor police on Saturday evening for stripping female candidates appearing for the Class 12 examination at the centre and checking their private body parts for chits used for cheating in examinations.

Virendra Bawaskar, principal, Vishwashanti Gurukul, also denied charges claiming students and parents were reacting aggressively after the college authorities did not allow any cheating to take place.

A case under various sections of the Indian penal code (IPC) and sections 8 (sexual assault) and 10 (punishment for sexual assault) of protection of children against sexual offences (POCSO) was registered against the two female security guards.

MIT is an HSC examination centre for the first time and the students claiming they were stripped-searched belong to the Prithviraj Kapoor high school and junior college.

First Published: Mar 04, 2018 21:00 IST