India's higher education minister has sparked anger after he called for the theory of evolution to be banned from schools.

Satyapal Singh, a minister in Narendra Modi's ruling BJP cabinet, said that the theory founded by Charles Darwin in the 1800's should be removed from the school curriculum as no-one "ever saw an ape turning into a human being".

He has been since condemned by the Indian scientific community for the claims which he doubled won with on Monday 21 January.

The minister said that his department were ready to host a conference where scientists can come forward to discuss their views.

Singh said: "I have a list of around 10 to 15 great scientists of the world who have said there is no evidence to prove that the theory of evolution is correct."

He even suggested that Albert Einstein thought the idea of evolution didn't exist.

The minister said that the theory was "scientifically wrong" and that it required a change in the education curriculum.

But a group of around 2,000 Indian scientists have hit back at Singh's claims, criticising his views.

In a statement, they said: "It is factually incorrect to state that the evolutionary principle has been rejected by the scientific community,

"On the contrary, every new discovery adds support to Darwin's insights. There is plentiful and undeniable scientific evidence to the fact that humans and the other great apes and monkeys had a common ancestor."

However, Singh's conference plans were pushed aside by his superior, Prakash Javadekar, the human resource development minister, who said that he had asked Singh to "refrain from making such comments".