An education official in Madhya Pradesh’s Shajapur district has issued an order warning schools of disciplinary action if students participate in Christmas-related events without their parents’ written permission, The Indian Express reported.

The order, issued on December 14, says that permission of parents or guardians will need to be taken for children to dress up as Santa Claus or a Christmas tree. The official said that the directive was issued to avoid any “untoward situations”.

The order warned: “Unilateral disciplinary action will be proposed against your organisation if there are complaints in this regard.”

District Education Officer Vivek Dubey, however, said that the order does not ban Christmas-related events from being held in schools, NDTV reported.

“In the past, there have been instances of parents complaining about their wards being made part of such events in schools without their consent, and the circular is aimed at preventing such disputes,” he said. “It’s better to such controversies rather than acting after the incident has occurred.”

Last year, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had urged schools in Madhya Pradesh not to ask children to dress up as Santa Claus or bring Christmas trees without the permission of their parents. The organisation had claimed that this was an attack on Hindu culture and “a conspiracy to influence Hindu children with Christianity”.