National/ Domestic Affairs

Madras HC reserves order on plea to transfer girl suicide probe to CB-CID

Madurai :The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has reserved its orders on a petition seeking to order a Cb-CID probe into the recent suicide of a Class 12 girl student of a Christian missionary school in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The petition was filed by the father of student M.Lavanya (17) seeking to transfer the investigation of his daughter’s suicide from Thirukkattupalli police in Thanjavur district to CB-CID or any other independent investigation agency. Justice G.R.Swaminathan heard the arguments of the litigant S.Muruganantham, Prosecution and the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, where the deceased studied and stayed in a hostel run by it. The school, which was accused of attempting to convert the girl to Christianity, impleaded itself in the case yesterday. Additional Public Prosecutor T.Senthil Kumar, appearing for the State, informed the court that P.Muthuvel, who shot the video of the girl making statements, is not cooperating with the investigation. Though he handed over the mobile phone to the investigation agency on January 25 as per the court order, he refused to throw more light on the number of videos recorded and the recipients of video so recorded. The prosecutor also said in the beginning that the deceased had made a phone call to a helpline two years back due to the ill-treatment meted out to the child by her parents. He said 63 witnesses have been examined so far to ensure a comprehensive and fair investigation. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that they have lost faith in the current probe and the facts and circumstances of the case warrants the transfer of investigation to CBI. The school management, through its counsel submitted that they were running several schools and colleges in the State and majority of the students are Hindus. There have been no complaints of conversion in the school’s history. The counsel also added that the allegation of the petitioner about an attempt to forcibly convert dates back to 2019. If they were aggrieved, they could have raised a complaint then or taken the girl to their home. He also contended that the video was a fabricated piece of evidence. It may be recalled that the girl, who consumed pesticide in the hostel on January 9, died at the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital on January 19. The girl reportedly confessed that she consumed pesticide as she was unable to bear the torture meted out to her by the hostel warden Sahaya Mary, who often forced her to clean all the rooms individually. The hostel warden was subsequently arrested by the police. Following her death, controversy arose that the girl committed suicide owing to the pressure exerted on her to convert to Christianity. A video was circulated in the social media in which the girl alleged that she was asked to convert to Christianity by a nun. 

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