Lavanya Suicide Case: Hostel Where She Was Put Up is a Child Care Institution Funded by the Vatican

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A three-member team of the NCPCR, led by Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, visited Tamil Nadu on Monday (January 31) to investigate the case. The Madras High Court had earlier transferred the case from the state police to the CBI.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) investigation in the Lavanya suicide case has revealed that the hostel she was put up in the premises of Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School is named St. Michael Home for Children and is registered as an orphanage. The orphanage has also got funding from the Vatican. Also, the registration of the orphanage had expired in November last year.

A three-member team of the NCPCR, led by Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, visited Tamil Nadu on Monday (January 31) to investigate the case.

Lavanya, a 17-year-old student at Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thanjavur, had consumed poison on January 9 as allegedly she could not bear more pressure from the school to convert to Christianity. After battling for her life for 10 days, she passed away on January 20.

This is a crucial piece of information, as multiple attempts were made to pass off this case as one with no conversion angle involved. Many Christian NGOs, especially those collecting funds from foreign countries, run ‘orphanages’ along with school. “Many poor children are lured into getting into these “orphanages” as those who run them promise good education, shelter and food to the poor parents. These children are then shown as “orphans” who are in need of “redemption” to collect money from Christians in foreign countries.”

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court Monday (January 31) transferred the case to the CBI. The victim’s parents had moved the court with the plea to hand over the investigation to the CBI. Lavanya’s mother had said that she had no faith in the probe conducted by the state police.

The bench came down heavily on the police for jumping to conclusion without conducting a thorough probe. The police had doubted the veracity of the victim’s dying declaration and had proceeded to lodge FIR against the person who had shot the video.

“Instead of ordering the investigation officer to take the additional materials to account, the S.P directed the local police to register an FIR against the person who had taken the video…Superintendent of Police wanted to silence any discussion regarding the conversion angle. The S.P virtually threatened the person who shot the video. Instead, she should have goaded the investigation to take the religious angle into account,” the bench observed.

Transferring the case to the CBI, the Madras High court said, “It is too early in the day for the police or the politicians to jump to conclusions. But they have done so. That is why, the petitioner is apprehensive that if the investigation remains with State police, he will not get justice. His apprehension is justified…I find merit in the petitioner’s counsel’s contention that the police, instead of finding out the truth of the allegations made by the deceased victim, have been trying to bolster the counter narrative.”

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