The death of a 17-year-old student in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu has sparked outrage across the state. The grim incident has become the talk across and beyond the town and voices to demand justice for the girl has been growing stronger. The girl was studying Class 12 at Sacred Hearts Higher Secondary School in Michaelpatti in Thanjavur. A native of Ariyalur, she was staying at the school's hostel and she has died on January 19 by suicide.
She was hospitalized in Thanjavur after consuming pesticide. Despite the treatment, she has breathed her last on January 19 and while the district police have launched a probe, BJP has found a talking point in the student's death and the party and its Hindutva affiliates have been alleging that the girl has committed suicide after she was forced by the hostel warden to convert to Christianity. The saffron party has claimed that it has a video clip in which she has confessed, while she was in the hospital, that she was coerced to convert to another religion.
Wasting no time, the BJP has spread the video clip and orchestrated the charge that a Hindu girl was forced to convert to Christianity. The party has apparently shown that it came into the picture because the girl was Hindu by trending the hashtag #JusticeForTNHinduGirl. Spreading the video clip, the party members had held protests across Tamil Nadu and upheld its Hindutva propaganda under the guise of demanding justice for the student.
While that video had kept BJP's fervour affirmation that she was forced to convert, despite the denials from the police, the latest video has come as a spoilsport to the BJP as it has the elements of foiling its plot and propaganda of infusing a division in Tamil Nadu. According to reports, the newly-leaked video runs for two minutes and 24 seconds and it has now been going viral, raising a question on whether the BJP has made the student speak that she was forced to get converted.
In the newly-leaked video, the student, Lavanya narrates that she has decided to end her life after she was imposed with more additional works by the hostel warden, which affected her studies. The video was shot at the hospital, where she was admitted before her death, by a person named Muthuvel, who is the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Ariyalur District Secretary. In this latest video, Lavanya didn't mention anything about forced conversion.
In the latest video, Lavanya can be heard responding to the questions asked by Muthuvel. She says, "The sister at the boarding house would always ask me to do the accounts. Even if I told her, 'no sister, I came late, I don't understand anything, I will do it later, she wouldn't listen. She would say, 'that's fine, you first finish the accounts and then do your own work.' She will keep making me do the accounts. Even if I write it correctly, she'll keep saying it's wrong and make me sit on it for at least an hour. I was getting low marks as I wasn't able to concentrate on my studies properly. I thought if this keeps going on, I won't be able to study."
For every statement, Muthuvel asks her question and she replies amid getting treatment. She further says, "From the time everyone wakes up, I have to open the gate, switch on the motor and after everyone finished their food, I have to check whether the motor is running properly, the hostel warden will give me all the work." At one point of time, Muthuvel puts a question to Lavanya whether the hostel staff forced her not to wear a bindi or pottu and she says, "No, they didn't force that and all."
Having this video, several people and activists have been flaying the BJP for scripting a story that she was forced to get converted. In the video, Lavanya has divulged that the school headmaster hasn't done anything wrong and that she was forced to work by the hostel warden, Sagayamary. According to reports, Muthuvel has recorded a total of four videos on his phone on January 17 when he went to the hospital. Of these four, two videos have been leaked already.
It has come to the revelation that out of four videos, only one video has a mention of conversion. The News Minute has reported that Muthuvel has deleted the second video, which is now been leaked. The probing team has managed to retrieve the deleted video from his phone as he had received it as a forward from another person. The officials are investigating whether Muthuvel had forwarded the video to someone else before deleting it or it has come back as a forward message. Out of four videos, the first one speaks about Lavanya's personal details.
The second one is the now-leaked video while the third one has carried what BJP has alleged - conversion and the fourth video speaks about Lavanya's stepmother, who will also be investigated by the police. As Lavanya didn't majorly speak about the religious conversion as the reason for committing suicide, voices are now widespread in Tamil Nadu with the allegations that the BJP has been engaging in its bigotry politics and that Lavanya may have been tutored to talk about the conversion.
Her denial on whether she was forced not to wear a bindi or pottu throws more weight that the BJP had attempted to make her the victim of conversion to spur uproar in the state. The police will also be investigating whether she was made to speak about the conversion. The police had arrested one person, 62-year-old hostel warden Sagaya Mary, in connection to Lavanya's death and she was sent to judicial custody. Earlier, Muthuvel had handed over his phone to the police as per the direction of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
Our sources say that Murugavel had shared a part of the video where the student speaks about the conversion to a BJP functionary and from there, BJP's politics over the death has spread across the state and even it has now gone to the national stage. As the police officials have denied that the conversion was the reason behind the student's death, the latest video has spurred anger against the BJP over its bigotry politics and division. The demand has been growing to arrest Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai, who led the party's propaganda behind the student's death.
Since the morning hours of Thursday- January 27, social media has been witnessing the hashtag #ArrestAnnamalai trending as the wave has hit against the Central ruling party. Amid being surfaced with anger over its politics, the Central leadership of the BJP has seemingly fueled it by forming a committee to submit the report to the leadership, even after being aware that the death of the student is being probed by the Tamil Nadu police. The BJP has on Thursday formed a committee to visit Thanjavur to inquire about the death of Lavanya.
The BJP has kept its charge that the student has committed suicide after harassment and coercion to get converted by the school management. In a statement, the BJP has said that the party's national president JP Nadda has constituted a four-member committee to visit the place of the incident and submit its report to him at the earliest. The committee consists of BJP MP Sandhya Ray, actor-turned-BJP leader Vijayashanti, and BJP leaders Chitra Wagh and Geetha Vivekananda. It must be noted that the committee has no member from Tamil Nadu, the state where the incident has happened.