Given rampant forceful conversions, on Thursday, the Madras High Court wondered why guidelines to prevent religious conversion in schools could not be framed and said that it would not hesitate to take serious action against the perpetrators who practice forceful conversion in the educational institutions in Tamil Nadu.
It pondered why shouldn’t it direct the Tamil Nadu government to take preventive action against forceful religious conversion in schools and colleges. A division bench of Justices R. Mahadevan and S. Ananthi was hearing a petition by Chennai-based advocate B. Jagannath.
While the advocate sought directions to the Educational Department to take all necessary steps including corrective measures to prohibit and ban forced religious conversion in Government-run schools and educational institutions, the Court said ‘there is right to profess any religion but not to convert forcibly’.
According to the reports, the petitioner proposed to set up an Internal Complaints Committee at District Level to stop the rampant forced conversion rackets. The advocate said that the committee would act as a fact-finding committee with an appellate remedy before the concerned District Collector. He also stated that the Christian Missionaries are allegedly supported by the State government and target Hindu girls in educational institutions. “They humiliate and abuse Hindu students. They discriminate on the basis of religion and torture Hindu girls to accept other religion”, the petition read roughly.
The petition further cited the recent incident in Thanjavur district where Lavanya, a school student committed suicide after being pressured to convert to Christianity. In her dying declaration, the young girl had stated that her missionary school had pressurised her to convert to Christianity and she had been subject to harassment for refusing to convert. The state government, media and police had tried to suppress the conversion angle in the case and had ignored the dying declaration, prompting her family to approach the HC seeking a CBI inquiry. The Madras High Court had ordered a CBI probe in the case.
Also, in a government school in the Kanyakumari district, a student was allegedly forced to kneel down for not acceding to the demand for conversion. Advocate Jagannath sought firm steps against conversions and stated that Court intervention was necessary in preventing religious conversions.
The bench will hear the case in detail on Friday, May 6, 2022.