A 19-year-old student, who turned up in shorts for an entrance test, was made to wrap a curtain around her legs in order to sit for the exam in Assam’s Tezpur town.
The incident took place Wednesday when Jublee Tamuli appeared for the entrance exam of Jorhat’s Assam Agricultural University (AAU).
She along with her father travelled from their hometown Biswanath Chariali to Tezpur, 70 km away, in the morning to be on time for the test. According to Jublee, there was no hitch as she entered the exam venue – Girijananda Chowdhury Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (GIPS). Trouble started in the exam hall.
“While the security guards let me enter the premises, I was stopped by the invigilator at the exam hall. He said I would not be allowed to enter wearing shorts,” she told The Indian Express from her hometown over the phone.
According to Jublee, the admit card did not mention any dress code. “A few days ago, I appeared for the NEET exam in the same town, wearing the exact same attire – nothing happened. Neither does the AAU have any rules about shorts, nor was there anything mentioned in the admit card. How was I to know?”
Her protests fell on deaf ears, as she was told she cannot sit for the exam. “I went crying to my father who was waiting outside. Finally, the Controller of Exams said I could take the exam, if a pair of pants could be arranged. So my father rushed to the market to buy a pair,” she said.
All the while, Jublee said she was losing precious time and feeling extremely harassed. Her father Babul Tamuli sourced a trouser from a market about 8 km away only to be told that the problem had been resolved: Jublee had been given a curtain to cover her legs.
“They said that if I lacked basic common sense, how would I succeed in life,” said Jublee, adding that it was “completely unfair”. “They did not check for Covid protocols, masks or even temperature…but they checked for shorts,” she said.
Calling it the “most humiliating experience of my life”, Jublee said she plans to write to Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu about the episode.
She added that everyone had their own “comfort zone”. “If a boy wears a vest, no one says anything. Some men go around bare-bodied in public, and no one says a thing. But if a girl wears a pair of shorts, then people point fingers,” she said
While Jublee was able to complete her test, she said the entire experience was “stressful” and the curtain kept slipping off while she was writing the exam.
Dr Abdul Baquee Ahmed, principal, GIPS, said he was not present in college but “aware that such an incident had happened.”
“We do not have anything to do with the exam – our college was just hired as a venue for the exam. Even the invigilator in question was from outside. There is no rule about shorts, but during an exam, it is important that decorum be maintained. Parents should also know better,” he said.