TN: Class 12 Student Dies By Suicide Over Forced Conversion To Christianity; Police Yet To Confirm

The incident created a stir across the nation, with netizens demanding justice for the victim and her family. The police informed that the parent's first complaint and the victim's last declaration has no mention of forced conversion. So far, the police have no information regarding the forced conversion. However, they are probing the matter from all angles.

A minor girl from Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur ended her life after allegedly being forced to convert her religion from Hinduism to Christianity. The incident came to light after the minor was admitted to Thanjavur Medical College Hospital on Wednesday, January 19.

The minor narrated disturbing details in a 44 seconds video recording before succumbing to her injuries. The clip has been widely circulated on social media.

Constantly Asked To Change Religion, Mentally Tortured

A student of Class 12 of Ariyalur Pure Heart High School, Lavanya was living in boarding in St Michael's Girls' Home. Hailing from a farmers family, Lavanya was a dedicated student who attained distinction in all her subjects.

In the clip, a man can be seen questioning Lavanya's reason behind her attempt to suicide. She said that a nun from her boarding, vaguely named Rachel Mari, had reached out to her parents two years back and tried to persuade them to convert her religion into Christianity on the condition of taking care of her education and living expenses.

The nun had asked the parents several times, but they disagreed. From that time onwards, Lavanya observed a significant change in the behaviour of nuns and the boarding authorities.

She said she was scolded multiple times and told that she shouldn't be residing in the hostel; the warden identified as Sakayamari (62) made Lavnaya clean all the rooms, maintain hostel records, without any help and harassed her. Disturbed by the continuous mental torture, she attempted suicide by consuming pesticides.

When asked the reason behind their nagging, Lavanya was not definite if her refusal to convert was the reason for the change in their attitude towards her.

Family Informed After Hospitalisation

The deceased's father, Muruganantham, was informed about her hospitalisation by the doctors on January 10. The family was told that Lavanya had vomited the previous day and complained of severe stomach ache. But no one contacted them from the school or the hostel.

Demand For Justice

The incident created a stir across the nation, with netizens demanding justice for the victim and her family.

Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai also posted the clip on social media, demanding a detailed probe into the matter. He urged the government to provide financial assistance to the bereaved family, along with a government job.

Calling it a poisonous plant, Annamalai said that the 'religious conversion trend' was spreading like a virus in the state, and the poor are its prime victims. He urged the state government to take Lavanya's incident as an example to end the menace.

Investigation Underway

The parents had approached the police on January 15, accusing the hostel warden of torturing their daughter and forcing her to do all the domestic chores, including maintaining records. The police filed an FIR, and the Judicial Magistrate recorded Lavanya's statement on January 16. The minor girl passed away on Wednesday night, January 19, after failing to respond to the treatment.

A few days later, on January 20, the deceased's parents approached the police with the viral short clip and alleged that the child was forced to convert.

Unearthing Conversion, Torture Claims

The News Minute spoke to Thanjavur Superintendent of Police (sp) Ravali Priya Gandhapuneni on the matter. The team is probing the matter from all the angles that have been highlighted, including the allegation of forced conversion and the pressure that Lavanya was facing.

The SP said the family's second complaint complicated the matter, as their first complaint and Lavanya's last declaration has no mention of forced conversion. So far, the police have no information regarding the forced conversion.

After the police's statement, Annamalai took to Twitter alleging the department of not thoroughly probing the case, despite the parents' complaint.

Another point to be noted is that the team viewed the clip after the minor passed away; therefore, there is no confirmation of when was it recorded, SP Gandhapuneni said. The team is finding the origin of the video that has been widely shared by citizens as well as politicians.

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Editor : Palak Agrawal
Creatives : Devyani Madaik

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