A four-member committee of the BJP, appointed by the party’s national president JP Nadda to ascertain the facts over the death by suicide of a minor girl, on Tuesday, February 1, visited the district and met the student’s family. JP Nadda had earlier announced the setting up of the all-woman panel, comprising Sandhya Ray from Madhya Pradesh, Vijayashanthi from Telangana, Chitra Wagh of Maharashtra and Geetha Vivekananda from Karnataka, to ascertain the facts leading to the 17-year-old girl student's death by suicide. The student’s death stirred controversy in Tamil Nadu after a video of her went viral after her death, in which she alleged that a nun at the hostel, Raquel Mary, had tried to force her and her parents to convert to Christianity two years ago.
Vijayashanthi, speaking to reporters after meeting the District Collector, said she the team discussed with him the matter and stressed on 'justice' for the student. "We spoke to the family members. We will submit a report to Naddaji after we gather the information one by one...there should be justice for the girl," she said. She wanted a "full stop to conversion" and insisted such incidents should not recur. She advised young girls against resorting to such extreme steps and wanted them to face issues boldly.
The girl of a missionary school in Thanjavur died by suicide on January 19. Lavanya M lived in a boarding house called Sacred Hearts Higher Secondary School in Michaelpatti in Thanjavur. She died on January 19. After her death, a video emerged of Lavanya, which was shot when she was admitted to hospital two days before her death. In the 44-second video, Lavanya can be heard saying that two years ago, a woman called Raquel Mary had asked her to convert to Christianity, which she and her parents refused. Based on her declaration, the Thirukattupalli police arrested and remanded the school hostel warden.
A couple of days later, another video of her before her death was leaked, in which she narrated that she took the step to end her life after extra work by the hostel warden made her fall behind in her studies. There was no mention of conversion in this new video.
The suicide of the Plus two student has stoked a row in the state with the BJP and Hindu organisations alleging that her death was triggered by an attempt to forcibly convert her to Christianity — a charge denied by the authorities and school management.
The Madras High Court on January 31 transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 amd and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to inidviduals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.
With PTI inputs