Person who shot video of ‘forced conversion’ to appear & submit mobile phone: Madras High Court

  • Ratna Singh
  • 07:32 PM, 24 Jan 2022

The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court ordered the person, who shot the video of the 17-year-old girl alleging forced conversion over video, to appear for inquiry and submit the device before Court on 25th January. 

The petition was moved by the father of the 17-year-old girl seeking CBCID inquiry. The petitioner informed the court that they have recorded their statement with the judicial magistrate as per the direction.

Justice GR Swaminathan, after going through the statement submitted in the sealed cover, questioned the authenticity of the video.

Replying to the question, counsel appearing for the Government informed the court that they have added 37 people as witnesses in the case and so far has enquired 14 people, but the mobile phone used for recording the video is necessary for verifying the authenticity of the video.

Government Counsel also requested a week's time to file a detailed report. Following the submission, the Justice questioned whether the video cannot be verified from the CD submitted by the parents along with their Statement.

The Court also ordered the parents of the 17-year-old girl to appear for the inquiry tomorrow and directed the IO to send the mobile phone to the Forensic Sciences Department in Chennai and submit a report on the authenticity of the video by 27th January.

The matter will be next heard on 28th Jan.

Background:

The girl committed suicide in Thanjavur last week reportedly because she was forced to undergo religious conversion.

The minor girl consumed poison on January 9 and the police received the first information from her parents on January 15. The warden of the missionary school was remanded after the Thanjavur judicial magistrate took a dying statement of Lavanya and following the recording of a statement by Thirukattupalli police. 

The girl's condition 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 said. As per the FIR, the warden of the hostel, where Lavanya 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 had recorded a video and shared it on social media platforms where she claimed that a woman named Rachel Mary had coerced her to convert to Christianity, which she and her parents 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. She also named a nun known as Rachel Mary who had allegedly tortured her.

 

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