Madras High Court Judge S Vaidyanathan on Tuesday withdrew his controversial remarks against Christian educational institutes amid protests from several groups, PTI reported. The judge had said that the institutes were “highly unsafe” for the future of children, especially girls.

“There is a general feeling among parents of students, especially female students, that co-educational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children,” the judge was quoted as saying. He also said that Christian missionaries “are always on the source of attack” and that there had been accusations against some of them for “indulging in compulsory conversion of people into Christianity”.

Vaidyanathan said that while the Christian educational institutes provide good education “their preaching of morality will be a million dollar question”, according to Live law. The judge had made the observation on August 17 while hearing a petition to quash a showcause notice sent to a Madras Christian College professor accused of sexual harassing at least 34 female students of the institute.

Several Christian groups, including the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council, voiced concerns over the statements. The groups also sought the removal of the judge’s comments, and claimed that they caused “negative stereotyping” of the Christian community.

The National Minority Commission also issued a statement, saying that it had caused pain to members belonging to the community. The commission’s Vice-Chairperson George Kurian, on Monday, said that it was wrong to generalise a community over the actions of some. “Nowhere in the Constitution or IPC [Indian Penal Code] is it mentioned that the religion of an accused or a petitioner should be considered while hearing a case,” The New Indian Express quoted him as saying.