A month after a 16-year-old boy in the district in Tiruvannamalai district died due to drowning, departmental action has been ordered against the sub-inspector who handled the case. Speaking to TNM, district Superintendent of Police Sibi Chakravarthi stated that the police officer failed to file an FIR and ensure that a postmortem was conducted, despite it being a clear case of 'unnatural death'.
The flouting of the Code of Criminal Procedure by the sub inspector would have possibly gone unnoticed, if not for a video that was released last week. The minor, H Dhananarayanan was the son of a government school teacher who lived with his grandparents in Ramanathapuram village. He had dropped out of school due to epileptic seizures and was receiving treatment in Vellore. On March 24, he fell into a deep well near his residence, and when the emergency services found his body, he was declared dead. On the insistence of his parents, who gave a written statement, the police neither filed an FIR nor conducted a postmortem in the case. But weeks after his death on April 18, a video of his final rites emerged.
In the procedure conducted by a spiritual group called Siddhavedham, led by Swami Sivananda Paramahamsa, the boy is seen in a sitting position and is being carried to a tub. He is then placed inside and ash smeared on him and poured into the container.
What is more alarming is the voice-over accompanying the video, which claims the victim was alive when the rites were being conducted.
"He has got Jeeva Samadhi at the age of 13. This happened on the 16th. He meditated, chanted and got jeeva samadhi near the well. Not everyone can attain this. He is still alive and his life is still in the body," the audio says.
"He got Jeeva Samadhi in Vellore. Swami Sivanandha Paramahamsa has given siddha vidhai to 2,000 people. Not everyone can attain this. He has attained godliness. A 14-year-old girl has also got jeeva samadhi, is what her parents have said. He has got jeeva samadhi in two days after getting the knowledge," says the man whose voice is recorded over the video.
Following this several more videos of believers visiting the village came up on social media, each with a slightly different version of how the boy died and what exactly happened to him. All of them however maintained that he was alive during the 'samadhi'. ToI was the first to report that the boy had been pronounced medically dead hours before the burial. However, the district administration and the police decided to exhume the body to conduct a post-mortem and dispel any false notions about his death.
"This is a clear misinformation campaign and aimed at spreading a false impression of what happened. The uncle of the victim is a strong believer in Siddhavedham and he has called the group home after the boy passed away. They claim they didn't shoot the video, but how is it possible when it from such a close distance?" the Collector asks.
"The body has been exhumed to do a post mortem. There is no issue with their beliefs but we have to arrest any wrong information being spread on social media about it. Even now, the relatives are claiming that hair has grown on the corpse and are trying to make the situation correlate to their beliefs. They actually think he was alive when they buried him even though medical practitioners had declared him dead," he adds.