A warden at a residential school in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, has been suspended for allegedly making around 70 girls strip to check for menstrual blood. The local education department has initiated an inquiry into the matter.

Although the incident had taken place on Sunday, the matter came to light on Thursday after the students’ families staged a protest at Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ Residential School, reported Dainik Jagran. Warden Surekha Tomar is believed to have asked the students to strip and threatened to thrash them if they disobeyed. She gave the order after blood stains were found in a bathroom. “The warden ordered us to remove our clothes. It was very humiliating for all of us. We want action against her,” one of the students told CNN-News18.

In her defence, Tomar claimed she wanted to check whether the girls were safe. “Some blood was found on the floor and wall of a bathroom. I wanted to check whether everything was all right with the girls. Such young girls are sometimes unable to express...I just asked them if anything was wrong,” she said, adding that the other staff at the institute were conspiring against her. “They [the students] are being provoked by other staff members who want me to leave,” she told CNN-News18.