On Saturday (January 22), the Madras High Court directed the police to investigate the circumstances that led to the suicide of 17-year-old girl M Lavanya in Thanjavur and stop harassing the man, who had recorded the victim’s dying declaration. The girl had committed suicide alleging that she was being harassed by her missionary school for not converting to Christianity.
As per reports, the matter came up before a Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan. During the hearing, the girl’s father S Muruganantham informed the court that the cops were trying to implicate the man, who had recorded the dying declaration of the class 12 student, for revealing the identity of the minor girl. He also demanded a CB-CID investigation into the death of his daughter.
S Muruganantham pointed out that the Thanjavur police was trying to protect the perpetrators who had tortured his daughter to convert to Christianity. In his petition, he highlighted how the minor girl was made to clean toilets, utensils and cook food by hostel warden Sagayamary for refusing to give in to their demands.
The Madras High Court passed an interim order restraining the police from harassing the man. The court directed the cops to ‘conduct themselves appropriately’ after the girl’s father approached had submitted before it. The Court had also asked the Thanjavur principal district judge to record the statement of the girl’s father and mother on Sunday (January 23) under Section 164 of the CRPC. It directed the judge to submit a sealed copy of their statement to the High Court in a sealed cover.
It must be mentioned that the court had directed officials on Friday (January 21) to conduct a post-mortem and videotape the medical procedure. The Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan noted that the autopsy was performed by 2 doctors at Thanjavur Medical College Hospital. Given that there was no indication of ‘foul play’, the Madras High Court directed that the victim’s body be handed over to the family for performing the last rights.
The Background of the Thanjavur suicide case
OpIndia had earlier reported how a student of standard 12th in Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School in Thirukattupali in Thanjavur in Tamilnadu was coerced into converting to Christianity. As she had refused to accept Christianity, the school authorities had prevented her from leaving the hostel during the Pongal holidays, and instead forced her to clean the entire premises including toilets. Due to the constant harassment, the 17-year-old took her life by consuming pesticides used in the school garden.
A video of the victim’s call for help was published on social media where she was seen in an unconscious situation talking about her torture. The video, originally in Tamil (translated by The Commune) said, “They (school) had asked my parents in my presence if they can convert me to Christianity and help her for further studies. Since I didn’t accept, they kept scolding me.” She had named one Rachael Mary, who allegedly tortured her.
While taking cognisance of the incident, Hindu organisations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Munnani and political outfit Indu Makkal Katchi had raised voices demanding justice for the girl and preventing predatory proselytization of Hindus.