A glaring omission of detail in the Lavanya case by the media has come to light now. NCPCR Chairman who was in Thanjavur to investigate the issue revealed that Lavanya was staying at an “orphanage” in the school’s premises and that it’s license has expired. This brings the conversion angle into more focus as Christian “child care institutions” have a habit of showing even children with parents as orphans. They claim to bring them to Christianity to collect money from foreign countries.
The 17 year old Hindu girl had committed suicide as she couldn’t stand the pressure to convert to Christianity. While the media reported that she stayed in the hostel of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, she actually stayed at St.Michael Home for Children. There are different standards for boarding school hostels and child care institutions. St.Michael Home for Children is actually listed as an “orphanage/home” in UCA News, a credible Catholic news portal.
If it’s an orphanage it needs to be registered and renew the registration at a periodic interval. NCPCR Chairman Priyank Kanoongo, who went to Thanjavur with a team to investigate, found that the license of St.Michael Home for Children expired in November and hasn’t been renewed yet. He also informed the media that contrary to the claims made by media and others, the institution is registered as a “child care institution” and not as a hostel.
This puts many things into perspective as many Christian NGOs, FCRA ones to a large extent, run “orphanages” as called by them, along with a school. Many poor children are lured into getting into these “orphanages” as those who run them promise good education, shelter and food to the poor parents. These children are then shown as “orphans” who are in need of “redemption” to collect money from Christians in foreign countries.
There have been many incidents of physical and sexual abuse and religious conversion in such orphanages. Apart from the abuse, the infrastructure and security in these orphanages are also in a questionable state. To give a few examples,
- Minor children ran away from Annai Amala Children’s Home as they were sexually harassed by its founder. The founder also runs St.Agnes Matriculation School.
- The principal of a government aided, RTE exempted school (much like Lavanya’s Sacred Heart school) was arrested for sexually abusing a 13 year old girl. She was staying at the Heber Home attached to the school.
- NCPCR Chairman Priyank Kanoongo had busted a conversion racket in MP where tribal children were lured from North East in the pretext of providing education. The children were taught Christian religious text and trained for a “special project”
- Another such “home” in MP had forced poor tribal children to read the Bible and eat beef
There are countless incidents like this exposing the real intention of so-called social work of the missionaries. Coming back to St.Michael’s Home for Children, it was directly funded by the Vatican. In a report titled “THE PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY COOPERATION AND SOLIDARITY BETWEEN CHURCHES” for the year of 2018/2019, it is declared that 3 Children’s homes in Michaelpatti, Megalathur and Pullambadi were given $5,500 for maintenance. There is no children’s home in Michaelpatti except St.Michael’s Home for Children where Lavanya stayed.
Initially, when TN police tried to dismiss the conversion angle, it leaked information that the girl had called Childline to complain about her stepmother. Attempts were made to establish that the girl stayed at the “hostel” even in holidays because of her step motherly treatment and called Childline from the “hostel”. But later it came to be known that it was a relative, with the help of an “activist”, who called the Ariyalur Childline. Childline itself is a private entity, acting as a nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Childline India Foundation, the nodal agency, is a FCRA-NGO (MH/83780693). It partners with NGOs at district level to operate the toll-free number 1098 to help children. In Ariyalur district it partners with Kumbakonam Multi-purpose Social Service Society(KMSSS) and Rural Education and Action Development (READ). Even though KMSSS doesn’t declare itself as a religious organisation, all of its board members are clergy. It is an FCRA NGO and comes under the control of Kumbakonam Diocese. The Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School where Lavanya studied and St.Michael’s Home for Children where she stayed both come under the control of Kumbakonam Diocese. Bishop Antonysamy Francis, the Bishop of Kumbakonam Diocese, heads KMSSS.
READ is also an FCRA-NGO (TN/76040225) and Christian in nature. It is headed by one Leela Mary and mainly receives funds from Sahaya International, USA and some other Christian organisations located in Belgium. If Childline were able to ascertain even remotely that Lavanya was being mistreated by her stepmother, then she would have been placed in a Child Care Institution aka orphanage. Apart from this, the congregation of Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary which runs the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School itself runs 5 FCRA registered organisations in Pondicherry alone.
1)Immaculate Boarding Convent, PY/285130009
2)Immaculate Heart of Mary Society Generalate, PY/285130024
3)Immaculate Heart of Mary Social Service Society, PY/285130027
4)Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, PY/285130011
5)Immaculate Heart of Mary Society, PY/285130017
Thus it becomes clear that Lavanya was surrounded by predatory missionaries out to harvest her soul in all directions except at her home. Even though she hadn’t told about the pressure to convert in her dying declaration to the police and magistrate, she never said anything about mistreatment at the hand of her stepmother. But the information available on public domain shows that the other fronts had reason to be religiously motivated. NCPCR and CBI should take note of this and investigate the conversion angle seriously.