The death of 17-year-old Lavanya in Tamil Nadu has spurred outrage across the state as it has been alleged that she has ended her life after facing pressure to convert to Christianity. Lavanya was a Class 12 student and a native of Thirukattupalli in the Thanjavur district and following her death in the hospital, the police have launched a probe towards ascertaining the real cause that incite her to take the extreme step.
According to reports, Lavanya was admitted to a hospital in Thanjavur after she attempted to commit suicide by consuming a pesticide. Amid treatments, she had eventually died on January 19. she was getting treated at the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital and her death at the backdrop of the allegation of the religious conversion has sparked controversy and outrage with the BJP coming into the picture and condemning the act of conversion.
The deceased girl was staying in a boarding house named St. Michael's Girls Home in Thanjavur where it was alleged that the hostel warden had tortured her. In a video that went viral, the girl has confessed that she was repeatedly scolded by the hostel warden and she was also forced to clean the rooms in the hostel. The girl has alleged that she was forced by the hostel warden to convert to Christianity.
After going through abuse, she had eventually consumed pesticide in her attempt to commit suicide. On January 10, the girl's father was informed that her daughter was admitted to a hospital on January 9 with complaints of vomiting and severe stomach pain. Her father Muruganantham had arrived and shifted his daughter to the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital for further treatments.
During the treatment, she has regained consciousness and she had divulged to her parents and doctors how she was tortured and why she had attempted suicide. Shocked to hear her statement, the doctors had informed the Thirukattupalli police and a police team had arrived at the hospital to question the victim. After questioning, the police have found out that the boarding home warden had harassed the girl and coerced her to convert to Christianity.
After recording her statement, the police had arrested 62-year-old Sakayakumari, the warden of the boarding home. The accused warden was remanded under judicial custody and lodged in the Trichy prison. Muruganantham has said that his daughter was tortured and was made to do all jobs. She had refused to convert to another religion. He further said, "When she had attempted suicide, the school didn't inform us. The hospital informed us, even the police didn't help."
Speaking to a news agency, Thanjavur Superintendent of Police Ravali Priya has said that the police are probing the case from all angles, including the allegation that Lavanya was facing pressure to convert to Christianity. What would be a challenging task for the police is to locate the origin of the video in which she confessed about the torture ahead of committing suicide. The video was shared by several people including Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai. Several social media users had been trending the hashtag #JusticeForLavanya on social media platforms.