A fact-finding committee of FCRA NGOs, which claim to be child rights organisations, has said that the conversion angle in the death of Lavanya is “fabricated and being politicised”. Residents of Michaelpatti where Lavnaya studied had recently petitioned the district collector to not allow any “outsiders” as they cause disharmony.
A “fact-finding” team formed by Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch (TNCRW) has investigated the villagers of Michaelpatti, where the Sacred heart Higher Secondary School is located. The 17 year old Hindu girl Lavanya studying in the school had committed suicide after she was pressurised to convert to Christianity and tourtured for refusing it. The team was set up by Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch (TNCRW), Right to Education Forum Tamil Nadu, Campaign Against Child Labour and Shout for Freedom Coalition. All of these are a group of NGOs working in the sphere of child rights and most of them are FCRA registered entities.
Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch
TNCRW is reportedly a network of 100 NGOs. It is headed by Susai Raj and Andrew Sesuraj. They run Jeeva Jyothi which is also an FCRA NGO. They also run a boys “shelter home” for orphaned and poor children and are partners of Childline in Thiruvallur district. Apart from this Jeeva Jyothi also runs a day care center for the children of brick-kiln and rice mill workers’ kids.
Susai Raj was involved with the International Young Christian Workers movement (IYCW) in the past. Jeeva Jyothi is mainly funded by Caritas, a Catholic organisation based in Rome. In its mission statement Caritas says that they are inspired by the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic church. Its headquarters is located in Vatican society and its president is a Catholic priest.
Right to Education Forum
RTEF is a forum of nearly 10,000 NGOs across the country, most of which are FCRA registered entities, that are into advocacy of the sectarian Right To Education Act. These NGOs advocate for extending the scope and watch over the schools to check strict implementation of the act. 4 NGOs do this work as part of the TN chapter of RTEF.
1)Aide Et Action – TN/75900517
2)Charitable Association for Rehabilitation and Education – TN/75900532
3)World Vision India – TN/75900011
4)Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC) – TN/75940138
World Vision is a well-known Christian organisation which works among the children to bring them to their faith in the name social service. Its website says, “We look forward to a world where every child experiences Jesus’ promise of life in all its fullness. Where they are protected, cared for and given the opportunities to become all God meant them to be” is their vision.
CPSC aka People’s Watch is a human rights NGO run by Henry Tiphagne, a Liberation Theologist (Liberation theology is a Christian theological approach to convert marginalised people in the pretext of helping them out of poverty and oppression). Its FCRA license was canceled by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2016. CPSC was recently booked by the CBI for violating FCRA rules and diverting its funds to People’s Watch, a non-registered entity. It was pulled up by the FCRA wing when it was found to have utilised foreign funds for anti- Kudankulam protests.
Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL)
CACL is also part of the RTE Forum and a collective of various NGOs. Human Education & Action for Liberation (HEAL Movement) is the representative of CACL in TN. Catholic priest Victor is the president of HEAL which was founded by one Siluvai Vasthian.
Shout For Freedom Coalition (SFFC)
SFFC claims to be a “a movement of individuals & organisations working together to end all forms of slavery and human trafficking in Tamil Nadu” in its Facebook page. MA Britto who runs Vaan Muhil, an FCRA NGO (TN/076040305), is the co-convenor of SFFC. Vaan Muhil is the partner of Freedom Fund, a Vatican initiative. SFFC’s social media pages have shared the posts of another FCRA NGO, Social Health and Education Development India (SHED India- TN/075960099), based in Thanjavur.
SHED India is the Childline partner in Thanjavur district and is one of the two NGOs in TN funded by International Justice Mission. IJM is a notorious “human rights” organisation mainly into “rescuing” bonded laborers. The organisation has been targeting Bharat’s textile industry in the name of labor rights. Yet, unfortunately even government departments are unaware of its nefarious activities and collaborate with them often at both centre and state levels.
The above details reveal the nature of the “fact-finding” team that declared that the conversion angle in Lavanya’s death is “fabricated”. While the media was quick to report the “findings” of this team, like always they failed to report the background and nature of the organisations involved in this “fact-finding” mission. It is to be noted that the residents of Michaelpatti recently submitted petitions to the district collector seeking him to restrain “unidentified persons” coming into their village just as the NCPCR team was about to visit. They alleged that some people with vested interests are trying to disrupt the communal harmony in their village in the name of inquiring about the school and Lavanya’s death.
But now, a “fact-finding” team of private entities has gone to the village and investigated the residents and panchayat members. It should be noted that the NCPCR Chairman who inspected the school and hostel premises where Lavanya stayed found that it was actually registered as a child Care Institution. 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. Curiously the “fact-finding” team hasn’t found or revealed these details before declaring the conversion angle as “fabricated”. But now we know why.
(FCRA details of RTEF and CACL are taken from IndiaFacts article)