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68 Bhuj college women forced to remove underwear, prove they weren’t on period

One student called it “the last straw”. Staff at a Gujarat college, led by the principal, are said to have humiliated dozens of woman students by insulting, “parading” and forcing them to remove their underwear to prove they weren’t on their period.

That’s according to a news report by The Ahmedabad Mirror, which explains that the Shri Sahjanand Girls’ Institute, located in Bhuj, adheres to norms requiring menstruating women to avoid physical contact with other students, and stay out of the kitchen and a nearby temple.

Here’s a summary of the report:

– Around 1,500 students are enrolled at the college, run by Swaminarayan Mandir followers.

– The principal is said to have stepped in after receiving a complaint that menstruating women had violated norms banning contact with others or entering the kitchen and temple.

– According to one student‘s account of this week’s events, the women were interrupted during lessons, publicly asked which of them was on her period, and forced to take off their underwear in a restroom. Another student said the harassment was routine.

– The second student explained that women from distant Gujarat villages had to live in a hostel housing school students, in the absence of dedicated accomodation for college-goers. A trustee told them they were welcome to go to court, but imposed two conditions: the women should leave the school hostel and sign a declaration denying that anything had happened to them.

– Neither the trustee nor the principal, who is a woman, responded to requests for comment. But two other officials — including a second trustee — have promised “action”. No specifics are mentioned.

– A third student said college authorities subjected parents to emotional blackmail as they urged them not to seek police intervention.

UPDATE: A “disturbed” National Commission for Women has promised to set up an inquiry team and visit the victims. The NCW said both the principal and one of the trustees have been asked for an explanation.