M Lavanya suicide: What is the case all about?
The death of M Lavanya, a Class XII student in Tamil Nadu, has stirred up a political storm in the southern state. The 17-year-old girl died by suicide last week. Her parents have accused school authorities of pressurizing her to convert to Christianity. Further, a viral video is at the center of the case where the girl could be heard alleging a conversion bid.
Lavanya, a student at Sacred Heart HSS in Thanjavur, had consumed insecticide on her school campus earlier this month. She died at a medical facility on January 19. In a video statement, the girl said the school had tried to convert her. She also told the police that she was forced by the hostel warden to clean rooms and toilets on the campus.
"They (school officials) had asked my parents in my presence if they can convert me to Christianity and help her for further studies. Since I did not accept, they kept scolding me," Lavanya could reportedly be heard saying in Tamil in the aforementioned video.
Lavanya's father, S Muruganantham, told the Madras High Court that the police were trying to implicate the person who had recorded the video. He said that the cops were trying to protect the perpetrators who tortured his daughter for conversion. "We have lost our daughter but we do not want the same to happen with anyone else's child," the girl's mother separately told reporters.
Meanwhile, the local police have arrested the warden, Sakayamari, and are continuing the investigation from various angles. Cops have also booked unidentified people for recording the said video under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Juvenile Justice Act. However, several Hindu organizations and sections of the public have demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The Madras High Court has ordered the Thanjavur Police to carry out a thorough investigation into the viral video. It further asked cops not to harass the person who had taken the video, an allegation leveled by the girl's family. "The focus of the police authorities should be on the circumstances that led to the suicide of the child," the HC said.