Alleging Forced Conversion And Abuse, Minor Girl Commits Suicide

A 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district died 10 days after attempting suicide by ingesting pesticide, stating that she had been “tortured” by her hostel warden since she turned down a request to “convert” to Christianity two years earlier. The girl was living in Thanjavur’s St Michael’s Girls’ Home boarding house.

“Two years ago they asked my parents and me to convert to Christianity. They said they will take care of my education,” the girl says in the video. In response to a question asking whether she was targeted for not converting, she says that it “may be” the reason. 

After the girl’s death, an unverified video has surfaced in which she claims the abuse by her hostel warden was caused by her family’s failure to convert to Christianity.

The girl’s parents have also requested an investigation into the charges of conversion.

On January 9, the higher secondary student attempted suicide and died on January 19th. Based on the girl’s accusations that she was forced to clean the hostel in addition to doing administrative and maintenance chores, the hostel warden was arrested under the Juvenile Act and invoking sections for abetting suicide.

Her father, who is from Ariyalur, received word on January 10 that his daughter had been brought to the hospital after vomiting on January 9 and complaining of serious stomach pain. His daughter was taken to the Tanjore Medical College Hospital. She informed the doctors about her situation and attempted suicide when she regained consciousness. The doctors then contacted the Thirukattupalli police department, who  questioned the girl.

Police authorities claim neither the girl nor her family had protested about the purported conversion. In an interview with NDTV, Ms Ravali Priya Gandhapuneni, SP Thanjavur said “We had video recorded her complaint, her statement to the Judicial Magistrate, and her dying declaration. She did not say anything about conversion. Nor did her parents allege this. We are now investigating this allegation also,”.

Authorities are also looking for the individual who shot the video in order to confirm its validity and the reason for its release. “The minor girl’s identity has been revealed. This is a violation”, they said.

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