Female college students were reportedly taken out of their classes, asked to remove their underwear, so teachers could inspect whether they were menstruating.
More than 60 undergraduate students from the Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute in India alleged the principal and three staff members from a hostel which houses the students were forced to remove their underwear, adding they were “assaulted and paraded”, according to India Today.
The searches took place after officials from a hostel the girls were staying at complained to to the principal of the school, which according to the BBC is owned by a “wealthy and conservative Hindu religious group”.
The official from the hostel complained the girls did not comply with the rules women who are menstruating are meant to follow and AFP reported a used sanitary pad was found on site.
While on their periods, women are not allowed to enter the hostel’s temple or kitchen, nor are they allowed to physically touch other students. They must sit away from others during meal time, and sit on the last bench while in class.
One student from the college told the BBC the women were expected to document when they get their periods, so staff at the hostel can identify them, however no student has volunteered that information on the register for the past two months.
One day after the official complained, the students were taken out of their lessons, asked if they were on their period and then forced to take off their underwear in the privacy of a restroom, one student told India Today.
The students are now reportedly taking legal action against the college, however there have been allegations of the principal blackmailing students and forcing them to withdraw their complaints.
“We do respect our institution, but what they did was not right. Legal action should be taken against them. We decided to call the media to throw light on the matter,” one student said to ANI, a news agency.
The Dean of Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute, Darshana Dholakia, said an ‘inquiry team’ has been set up to investigate the allegations.
The Dean also added the issue is related to the hostel and has nothing to do with the college.
“Everything happened with the girls' permission and nobody was forced. No one touched them,” she said.
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