An education minister in India has come under fire after claiming that there are no lesbians in his schools.

Minister Partha Chatterjee has said there are zero lesbians in the school system, despite West Bengal having a population of more than 90 million people, according to First Post.

Chatterjee said he had “never” heard of lesbians in West Bengal schools, after ten students in Kolkata were reportedly forced to sign a letter admitting they were lesbians as a punishment for their “intense friendships”.

“If such an incident had indeed happened, it would be against the ethos of our state,” Chatterjee said.

“I will ascertain from the school management what prompted them to secure the written admission from the students.”

He added that authorities were right to punish the ten students if they were found “guilty” of “indecent” behaviour.

“It is a problem at the school level,” he said.

“Young teenagers should not explore sexuality among themselves. That is not the culture of Bengal.”

The acting headmistress at the high school, Sikha Sarkar, said the students wrote the letter of their own volition, according to The Quint.

“The students have written everything on their own,” she said.

“We haven’t forced anything on them. The matter is solved.

“We have a problem with their behaviour, the explanation for which will only be given to the director in charge of education.”

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