Principal Swati Deshpande of Bandra's Government Polytechnic College got a “rope partition“segregating the college canteen into girls’ and boys' sections removed on Wednesday, following intervention by the state education minister.

Deshpande discussed the issue at the state education minister's office on Wednesday. Education minister Vinod Tawde told TOI: “The principal informed our office that girls had limited space in the canteen and therefore wanted to give them an exclusive area. We have suggested that she remove the partition and allow students to sit wherever they are com fordable. I have also told the college to not change the uniform of girl students and allow them to wear whatever they want to, “said Tawde.

The college had decided to change the uniform from shirt and trousers to salwar-kameez. The principal's comments to TOI on how certain types of attire were not suitable for women had gone viral.

Tawde said, “If there are complaints, we asked her to tackle them on a case-by-case basis. There was a need to intervene in this matter or some principals would have continued to impose such unnecessary rules.“

Commenting on the decision, a student at the polytechnic said, “Not only was the physical `partition' removed, girls and boys were allowed to sit together. We do not know of any sexual harassment case that could have forced the college administration to separate the canteen area. “

Deshpande had told TOI on Monday that sexual harassment cases had prompted her decision.