Days after a school in Kolkata extracted a confession from 10 students that they were lesbians, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday said that the government had sought a report on the incident from the educational institute and that lesbianism was “against the ethos” of the state.

The state has asked the school management to explain why it obtained a written admission from the students. “We are not treating the issue lightly,” Chatterjee said, according to PTI. “We had not come across such reports at educational institutions in past. If such an incident had really taken place that will be against the ethos of Bengal,” he added. “Personally, I will not inculcate the idea of lesbianism in schools.”

On March 8, the all-girls’ school made 10 students forcibly write a letter that they were lesbians. On March 12, their parents and guardians protested outside the school and argued with the management. The school’s acting headmistress told IANS on March 12, “Some students had complained against 10 students of indulging in such behaviour. We called those students and they admitted it.”

She added that she told them to admit it in writing “considering the sensitive nature of the issue”. “Today we called the guardians to apprise them of the issue...Our aim was to discuss the matter with them so that we can bring these girls on the right course through efforts both at home and in school.”

However, the guardians claimed that the school arm-twisted the girls into signing the letter. “If two persons hold hands, or put an arm on each other shoulders, that does not mean they are lesbians,” said a guardian.

On March 13, however, the school’s acting head told The Indian Express that the matter has been resolved and it was only “some miscommunication with the parents”. The matter has been blown out of proportion and sensationalised, she claimed.