“Won’t Allow Lesbianism in Schools,” Says West Bengal’s Education Minister after School forces 10 Girls to Write They are Lesbian

West Bengal’s Education Minister Partha Chatterjee has said that he won’t allow lesbianism in schools, and that lesbianism is “against the Bengali culture.” In a video posted by The Quint, Mr. Chatterjee is seen saying, “You can’t inculcate your personal ideas in the school. It can influence others. It is a problem at the school level. Young teenagers should not explore sexuality among themselves. That is not the culture of Bengal.” He was responding to questions regarding reports of a girls school in Kolkata forcing 10 girls to “confess” in writing that they were lesbians.

On March 8, Kamala Girls’ School in south Kolkata forced 10 girls to confess in writing that they were lesbians. Following this, their parents stormed the office of the headmistress and accused her of forcing their children to sign such confession letter. The school authorities on their part said that they were acting on complaints that these girls were indulging in wrong behaviour and their action was meant to bring these students on the “right course.”

The Telegraph reported that “guardians protesting the alleged incident said some of the girls were being victimised for giving statements against an employee accused of molesting a student.” The Indian Express talked to a few ex-students of the school who said that the school atmosphere was very oppressive, and teachers would frown upon close friendships and fling the word lesbian as a swear word to insult students.

Mr. Chatterjee said he had sough a report on the incident. “I have asked my department to seek a report from the school. It is the duty of the school authorities to take appropriate action if (the girls) are found guilty. Whether the allegations are true or not, have to be proved. They can’t ask the students to write anything if they are not guilty. Neither can they be lenient if the students are found to be “indecent” in their behaviour.”

Sukhdeep Singh