[BREAKING] Thanjavur’s alleged Forced Conversion & Death: Madras HC transfers case to CBI

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The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court today ordered the transfer of the Thanjavur student death case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Single Judge Bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan was hearing a petition moved by the father of the 17-year-old girl who had killed herself in Thanjavur reportedly because she was forced to undergo religious conversion. The girl's father had sought CB-CID inquiry into the case.

The petitioner had previously informed the court that they had recorded their statement with the judicial magistrate as per the direction.

Also, earlier on Friday, the Madras High Court had been informed by Christian Missionary School that they were not involved in any manner in the death of the Thanjavur girl suicide case and that the girl was in depression due to harassment by her own stepmother.

During the hearing on Friday, one Arulraj representing the Christian Missionary School had submitted that, "We have been protecting the girl for 5 yrs. We know her in and out. Most of her angst was against her stepmother. The needle of suspicion should be on her stepmother. To hide this, they have put forth the bogey of conversion"

Arulraj had stated that there was a wider conspiracy to truncate the investigation to protect the real culprits and thereby had asserted that, "The allegations that we were alluring her to convert are baseless. We have been handling at least 1 lakh students over 100 years. The incident happened 2 yearss back, why didn't they raise the allegations then?"

"The person Muthuvel who took the video, there are criminal charges pending against him for attacking Christians. He is a leader of some political organization. Also, the girl had called a helpline number 2 yrs back complaining against harassment by family, he had submitted furthermore.

However, the petitioner father's counsel had contended that "For fair investigation process the matter must be transferred to CBI as in 2006, there was a case of suicide of one girl Sukanya and it was declared as suicide. After investigation in 2010 it was known that she was gang raped and thrown in well."

He had further averred that Muthuvel ( the one who circulated the video) was not cooperating with the investigation and therefore it was getting difficult for them to investigate. "We are not suppressing anything. 53 witnesses have be examined till now. The plea has no averment. They are arguing in air. There is nothing in writing," had said the Prosecutor.

Further, the Court had also ordered the person, who shot the video of the 17-year-old girl alleging forced conversion in the video, to appear for inquiry and submit the device before the Court on 25th January.


A girl had committed suicide in Thanjavur last week reportedly because she was forced to undergo religious conversion. The minor girl had consumed poison on January 9 and the police had received the first information from her parents on January 15.

As per the FIR, the warden of the hostel, where Lavanya (the deceased girl) was staying, had forced her to do domestic chores on January 9. She allegedly attempted to end her life as she could not bear the cruelty.

The girl's condition had worsened on January 15 and she was shifted to the Thanjavur College Hospital. There, she gave her declaration implicating the warden and died on January 19, the police had said.

Following the recording of girl's dying statement by the Thanjavur judicial magistrate and the recording of a statement by Thirukattupalli police, the warden of her school, i.e. the missionary school was remanded.

Significantly, the girl had also recorded a video and had shared it on social media platforms where she had claimed that a woman named Rachel Mary had coerced her to convert to Christianity, which she and her parents had refused.

“...They (school) had asked my parents in my presence if they can convert me to Christianity and help her for further studies. Since I didn’t accept, they kept scolding me,” the viral video of the girl stated in Tamil language.

[Case Title: Muruganantham v. The Director-General of Police & Ors.]