The issue of a Hindu girl killing herself unable to bear the harassment for refusing to convert is being spinned as a casteist issue by DMK and its allies. DMK ally MP has tweeted connecting the issue with casteism by dominant castes. The School Education Minister of the DMK government has dismissed the conversion angle and claims to have the statements of 30 students of the same school to prove that. As everything points towards a sabotage of the investigation, the girl’s parents have moved the court demanding CBI enquiry.
A 17 year old Hindu girl studying in the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School in Thanjavur had consumed pesticide, unable to bear the harassment in her school. She was reportedly made to clean toilets, cook and clean the hostel because she refused to convert to Christianity. A video of the girl’s dying declaration claiming she was harassed by the nuns in the Christian school for not converting went viral in social media.
Even though the girl can be clearly heard saying in the video that she was asked to convert 2 years ago and had been facing harassment since she refused, the usual suspects not only doubted the credibility of the video but cast aspersions on the girl and her family. Now more details have emerged that she was threatened that her School Transfer Certificate will have a black mark about her discipline if she doesn’t cooperate.
Fearing these threats she never told about being asked to convert or the harassment faced thereafter to anyone. A bright student, scoring 489/500 in the 10th standard board exams, she was reportedly broken and humiliated when she was made to clean toilets. She consumed a chemical used for gardening and didn’t tell anyone about it in fear of retribution. After 10 days she died as a result of organs failing one by one.
Only when she was in deathbed did she reveal that she was targeted for not converting and harassed by the nuns who kept badgering her to embrace Christianity. Then the parents also revealed that the nuns asked them in person to convert her by promising good education. But the parents claim to have refused then and there and even had a heated argument with them. But then they had to remain silent inorder to save their daughter’s studies till she could be transferred to another school. Alas they didn’t know what it could result in.
When the parents tried to bring Lavanya home for holidays, they were told that she is studying really well and a bit more practice would help her ace state ranking and so they do not want to send her home. Lavanya suffered in silence and was sent home only after she vomited profusely as a result of consuming the pesticide kept in the school cupboard. Unfortunately she didn’t tell her parents about consuming it and her health deteriorated day by day resulting in her death.
After she revealed that she was forced to do menial jobs for refusing to convert, her parents filed a police complaint. Hostel warden Sahaya Mary has been arrested based on her charges but another nun, Racheline Mary, named by her is still free. Parents claim that when the police and judicial magistrate recorded her statement she only told about the physical harassment and not about the conversion issue in fear.
Only later did the video of her dying declaration emerge. Instead of investigating the conversion angle as well based on the video, police officials have simply dismissed the claim. As a nonpartisan entity police should have got hold of the original video and verified it’s authenticity even if they were sure that there is no conversion angle. But the fact that they didn’t even consider the video as evidence shows their partisan nature as feared by the girl’s parents.
Politicians are not behind in strengthening this suspicion, as one DMK ally MP has tweeted connecting the issue to casteism while the minister of school education claims that he has evidence to prove that the conversion angle is not true. Ravikumar, an MP of VCK, ally of DMK, quoting a tweet dismissing allegations of conversion, tweeted that there is an increase in the number of incidents where school teachers treat children with a casteist mindset and it is worrying.
Now the minister of school education, Anbil Mahesh Poiyyamozhi, has claimed that there is no conversion angle and he has recorded statements of 30 students from the school to prove that. While he said that the video of Lavanya’s dying declaration should not have been recorded, he has claimed that in the video statement recorded by his department no student has alleged about pressure to convert. Funnily enough he said “there should not be any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste and politics”, while the concerned school is a minority institution certified based on the religion of its founders and board members.
This has given way to suspicion that the government officials could have coached the students to record statements denying conversion activities even if there was any conversion angle. Questions are also being raised as to why the minister is making such claims when the investigation is underway as it amounts to interference in investigation. The Catholic church also seems to have started its propaganda war with “reports” of a church in Coimbatore being vandalised emerging.