As many as 68 female students at a college in the Indian state of Gujarat were lined up in a washroom Tuesday and made to strip by the administration in a bid to check if they were menstruating. The National Commission for Women (NCW), a government body, has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The college authorities assigned some female teachers to carry out the humiliating exercise. “It was sheer mental torture and we don’t have words to describe it,” an unidentified victim told local daily the Times of India.
Sahjanand Girls Institute, a college run by the Swaminarayan sect which manages opulent Hindu temples across the world, prohibits menstruating students from entering the hostel. The college mandates the students to stay in a separate basement area, as well as bans them from using the kitchen and the place of worship while they are on their periods. The students also have to sit at the back of the classroom during lectures.
A soiled sanitary pad found in the compound on Monday reportedly triggered the act. A hostel official complained to the college principal that some of the students were breaking the rules.
The students launched a protest calling for legal action against those responsible. The NCW has sought an explanation from the college’s trustee, Pravin Pindora, and the principal, Rita Raniga.
Pindoria said students were intimated about the rules prior to their admission, news station NDTV reported.
The college said it started an inquiry and vowed to take action against the staff responsible. “I have called a meeting of the administrative committee which will take action against the responsible persons,” Pindoria said.
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