In what can only be interpreted as a show of solidarity with the missionaries, a DMK MLA has felicitated the warden who tortured Lavanya. The court had granted her bail a few days ago and she was spotted being felicitated by DMK MLA Inigo Irudaya Raj in front of the jail as she came out.
The death of a 17 year old Hindu girl who was pressurised to convert and tortured when she denied had shaken the whole nation. The girl had accused warden Sahaya Mary and Racheline Mary, both nuns, of harassing her after she refused to embrace Christianity. She gave a dying declaration that she was made to clean toilets, cook and keep books.
Following this her parents had lodged a complaint with the local police and the warden was arrested. However since then there have been attempts to discredit the dying declaration of the girl at many levels. First the police told the media that there is no conversion angle in the case. Then the Minister of School Education and the Minister of Women and Child Welfare and Social Defence said that there is no conversion angle and that they have evidence to prove it.
The Education Department officials also leaked information that in all the years they had inspected the school there never was any conversion charges. However, the parents of the victim stood steadfast that she was forced to convert. They were vilified by government agencies and media despite the father being a card carrying member of the ruling party DMK.
They went to court expressing fears that justice won’t be served as police have a preconceived notion of the issue. The court, observing that the police department was prejudiced and ministers went as far as taking a public stance, felt that the state police cannot be allowed to continue the investigation. It has directed the CBI to take over the case. But the DMK government had appealed in the Supreme Court against this decision which is pending to be heard on February 14.
In the meanwhile, the only arrest made in this case was of the “hostel” warden Sahaya Mary. She was granted bail a few days ago and was welcomed and felicitated by DMK MLA Inigo Irudaya Raj as she came out of the jail. Inigo is the founder and convener of Christian Goodwill Movement. He has been calling for Christians to come to power to “represent” themselves better.
In one of the events organised by him a Christian priest said, “The majority (Hindus) are nothing but mosquitoes and can be easily swatted away”. Before the 2019 Loksabha elections Inigo spoke in a Christian event where he said, “They(BJP) think they can obtain power by doing yagnas. In the 2019 polls both Christian and Muslim brothers will unite to defeat BJP and anyone who supports them which is our only duty.“
A Catholic priest George Ponnaiah had said that if not for Christian votes DMK wouldn’t have come to power and that DMK coming to power is alms provided by Christians. Even after that TN CM and DMK chief MK Stalin himself showed support for the community by saying, “The government in power in Tamil Nadu was “created/formed” by you”. With this background it doesn’t surprise when Sahaya Mary is felicitated by a DMK MLA. But like Madras HC, the Supreme Court as well should take note of the ruling party’s clear bias and rule accordingly.
It is to be noted that the “hostel” where Lavanya was made to stay was registered as a “Child Care Institution” aka “orphanage”. UCA news, a credible source for information related to the Catholic church, says St.Michael’s Home for Children is an orphanage/home. The Vatican had sent $5,500 to the orphanage in 2018 for its maintenance.