In a recent development to the M Lavanya suicide case of Tamil Nadu, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has revealed that the premises in which the victim was made to stay is not a hostel but an orphanage named St. Michael Home for Children.
According to the reports, Lavanya who studied in the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School was put up in a registered orphanage funded by the Vatican. The NCPCR investigation team headed by Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo and comprising RC Anand, Katiyajini Anand and Madulika Sharma also stated that the license of the orphanage had expired in November last year and has not been renewed since then.
Priyank Kanoongo informed the media that contrary to the claims made by media and others, the institution where the girl was staying is is registered as a “child care institution” and not as a hostel.
17-year-old Lavanya consumed poison on January 9 after she was pressured by the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School and its claimed hostel to convert to Christianity. In a dying declaration recorded on video, the girl had said that she was being tortured for refusing to accept Christianity and leave Hinduism.
However, the police and the media tried to cover up the conversion angle in the case and alleged that the girl killed herself because the school had asked her to do some regular chores. Lavanya breathed her last on January 20.
The NCPCR decided to investigate the matter as it had received several complaints regarding the case. Earlier, the child rights body had said that the girl was imposed corporal punishment, refused to go home and made to clean toilets and wash dishes etc, by the school authorities. As a result, the child committed suicide by drinking pesticides. NCPCR had also said that Tamil Nadu govt had refused to cooperate with it in the probe.
Thanjavur student death case | National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) team conducts enquiry at the school in Michaelpatti.— ANI (@ANI) January 31, 2022
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo says, “Right now we’re going to the school. I’ll brief the media after completion of today’s process” pic.twitter.com/CTxtWlDGMt
The investigation reported by NCPCR is crucial as the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on January 31 has transferred the case to the CBI. The bench slammed the police for jumping to conclusions without conducting a thorough probe and charging the person instead who had shot the video.
The court observed merit in the petitioner’s counsel’s contention and stated that the police instead of finding out the truth, had been trying to bolster the counter-narrative.