In a new development, 17-year-old deceased student Lavanya‘s grandmother has backed the family’s claim of forced conversion which she had made in her dying declaration. In an interview to Youtube channel Chanakyaa, Lavanya’s maternal grandmother Mangayarkarasi has revealed that Lanvnya while being admitted to a hospital in Coimbatore, had confessed to her uncle that she had consumed poison only because she was forced to convert to Christianity.
17-year-old Lavanya, a student of the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School in Michaelpatti, Tanjavur, had consumed pesticides. Her dying declaration while being treated in the hospital had stated that she was being harassed and humiliated, being made to clean toilets by the school authorities because she had refused to convert to Christianity.
On Sunday, Tamil Youtube channel Chanakyaa published a video of a commentary on the Lavanya suicide case with interviews of Lavanya’s maternal grandmother and her doctor. Mangayarkarasi, the deceased girl’s maternal grandmother, has stated that the state police has been making inquiries at her place, and has been trying to interrogate the family members even after the case was given to the CBI by Madras High Court on January 31.
While narrating her last meeting with Lavanya before her death she told that she visited Lavanya when she was admitted to the Thanjavur hospital for treatment. Speaking about what Lavanya had highlighted to her maternal uncle in front of her, she said, “Lavanya confessed to her uncle that she consumed poison only because they forced her to convert to Christianity.” (as translated by The Commune in English)
Mangayarkarasi who is a senior citizen talked in length about the police enquiry that followed after the incident. She added, “Initially an officer called Saravanan came to enquire us. I told them that I do not know anything related to the case. Another lady officer took us to investigate us. As I was a little tight-lipped, they started enquiring about my sister’s husband who was in Coimbatore. She then called me and asked me to tell them what I know.” She added that policemen continued to pay her house a visit, until as late as February 10, the day when the interview with Chanakyaa was shot.
It is to be noted here that the Madras High Court had already transferred the case to the CBI on January 31. Long after the case was transferred to the CBI, the state police continued with their enquiry, according to Lavanya’s maternal grandmother. “Every day 4-5 policemen would come to our house and conduct the same enquiry, even after the case was transferred. An SI was mostly accompanied by 2-3 constables, who all came in varied times, and asked us the same questions, again and again,” she added.
It is notable here that the Madras High Court had slammed the attempts by the state government to ignore the young girl’s dying declaration and dismiss the forced conversion angle in the Christian school where she studied. The High Court had clearly stated that the dying declaration of a victim cannot be ignored and the state police have been prejudiced in the case by trying to dismiss the dying declaration.