Chennai: The suicide of a 17 year-old girl in Thirukkattupalli, Tamil Nadu has attracted a political controversy after a video of the girl emerged in which she appears to be alleging that she was under pressure from the hostel management of her missionary school to convert to Christianity.
The hostel warden has been arrested under the Juvenile Act apart from charges of abetting suicide.
The Class 12 student was hospitalised after her suicide attempt on January 9 but died on Wednesday. According to the FIR, the warden allegedly forced the student to clean the hostel rooms. A purported video of the girl has gone viral in which she indicated that she might have been harassed by the hostel staff because her parents refused to convert her, a report by Hindustan Times said. The authenticity of the video could not be verified.
"Two years ago, they asked me and my parents to convert to Christianity. They said they will take care of my education," the girl says in the video. On a specific question on whether she was targeted for not converting, she says, "Maybe".
Tamil Nadu BJP have alleged a conspiracy and cover up by the police, whom they said were trying to change the angle of the investigation, as police reports said there was no mention of pressure to convert from the initial statement of the parents. However they have also demanded an investigation into conversion allegations.
"There is a videographed confession statement of the girl. How did the SP come to the conclusion that it's fake?" said BJP chief K Annamalai. Describing conversion as a rapidly spreading poisonous plant in a statement on Twitter, Mr Annamalai urged the state government to "control".
"As of now, we cannot consider that video as a dying declaration," Thanjavur's superintendent of police, Ravali Priya Gandhpueni, said, adding that the "the initial statement of the girl's parents did not have any angle of conversion."
Gandhpueni said the girl had not talked about conversion in her dying declaration nor her statement to the Judicial Magistrate. In addition to this the person who took the video would also be investigated as the identity of the minor girl was revealed which was a violation, she said.