A school in Chennai has stirred controversy after it referred to the farmers protesting the new agriculture laws as “violent maniacs who act under external instigation”, and used phrases like “diabolical violence” and “rampage” to describe the events that unfolded during a tractor rally on Republic Day.

The phrases were used in a question in a Class 10 English Language and Literature paper in the second revision exams held at a DAV Boys school on February 11, according to The News Minute. An image of the section of the question paper is being widely circulated on social media, though it was not immediately clear who drafted the paper.

The students were asked to write a letter to the editor of a daily newspaper in Chennai, condemning what it called, the “terrible, violence acts of miscreants who fail to realise that country comes before personal needs and gains”.

Drafted under section B of the exam paper, the question read: “The diabolical violence that broke out in the national capital on Republic Day filled the hearts of the citizens with condemnation and abhorrence after the farm law protesters went on a rampage destroying public property and attacking police personnel in broad daylight. Write a letter to the Editor of a daily newspaper in your city, condemning such terrible, violent acts of miscreants who fail to realise that country comes before personal needs and gains.”

The question added, “Destroying public property, disgracing the national flag, and attacking police personnel are few of the various illegal offences committed, that can never be justified for any reason whatsoever.”

Based on these observations, the students were also asked to “suggest few measures to thwart such violent maniacs who act under external instigation”.

Class 10 students of the DAV Boys Senior Secondary School in Gopalapuram area of the city told The News Minute that the question appeared along with another 10 mark question. Students could choose to attempt one of the two questions under the section.

“There is a letter format that has been taught to us, with the sender’s address, receiver’s address etc,” one student told the website. “We replicated that format and wrote the body of the letter based on the question and the points raised in the question.”

Thousands of farmers have been protesting for nearly three months against the new agricultural laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of corporations. Their largely peaceful protests turned violent on Republic Day, when a section of of farmers riding tractors veered from the route earlier decided with police and stormed the Red Fort in a dramatic escalation. Over 300 police officers were injured and one protestor died. Scores of farmers were also injured but officials have not given their numbers.

While farmers distanced themselves from the violence, authorities used it as evidence that the protest needed to be dismantled. Since then, several farm leaders have been arrested and journalists covering the movement were booked on charges of sedition. The police have erected barricades and barbed wire and even planted spikes in concrete to stop demonstrating farmers from entering Delhi.