In a bizarre incident about 50 students of a pre-university college in Karnataka were forced to wear cartons to avoid copying in exams, an official said on Saturday.

“A notice has been issued to Bhagat Pre-University College seeking explanation for forcing its students wear cardboard boxes (cartons) while writing exams to prevent them from copying,” a Haveri district Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) official told news agency IANS on phone.

Social media was abuzz with viral photos and video the incident of college students in Haveri, about 330 km from Bengaluru, where they are seen sitting in a classroom, wearing cartons while writing their exam. Haveri is in the state’s northwest region.

The cardboard boxes were however cut from the front for the students to breathe and see but not peep left or right to see the answer sheets of the other students seated on the same bench.

The students were writing papers in economics and chemistry subjects as part of the mid-term exams, conducted in their classroom.

According to the official, “Whatever be the purpose, they (students) cannot be made to wear cartons for writing exams. There is no rule or advice from us.”

S Suresh Kumar, State Education Minister took to Twitter to react on the incident and said that such an attempt was not acceptable.

“Nobody has any right to treat anybody more so students like animals. This perversion will be dealt with aptly,” tweeted Kumar.

The college head MB Satish told the media while defending the cheating measure that a college in Bihar had used a similar method to check rampant copying during exams and was widely appreciated on the social media.

He further said, “We tried to see how it works as a trial and told the students in advance that boxes would be given to each of them to wear before writing the exam.”