Kerala's Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb was against the idea of boys and girls sitting together in college. "At the same time, they can sit together using chairs. They can sit next to each other in the same bench, if the institutions and students do not have any complaint," Indian Express quoted Rabb, who is also a Muslim league leader, as saying.

The statement came in wake of a recent controversy over the suspension of a student at Muslim-run Farook College in Kozhikode, Kerala. Students protested against the decision of the college management to act tough on boys and girls who sat next to each other in class.

Nine students of the residential college, including boys and girls, were asked to quit class after they were found sitting on the same bench. Of them, eight students came back to college accompanied by their guardians, while one student — Dinu K — refused to leave and opposed the management's decision, reported Indian Express.

As a result, Dinu was suspended from college following the incident. It let to protests in the college and the students questioned the administration's "gender discrimination" tactics.

"I don't think there was gender discrimination in the college," said Rabb.

In a petition filed with the high court, the students stated that the strength of the class is 130. Two students entered late and found only one bench vacant — where three girls were already seated. So the two students occupied the seats. However, the lecturer asked the two boys to sit separately or leave the classroom, said the Indian express report.

The high court has suspended the decision of the autonomous college.