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No Religious Conversion in School Whose Student Died by Suicide: TN Edu Dept

The BJP has been rallying against religious conversion in the school, after the student's death.

Published
India
3 min read
No Religious Conversion in School Whose Student Died by Suicide: TN Edu Dept
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Thanjavur District Education Officer, in a detailed report, has said that there were no cases of religious conversion, in the school whose student, a 17-year-old, had died by suicide. The report came to light on Thursday, 27 January.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) state unit had accused the school management of attempting to convert the class 12 student to Christianity, before her demise. The BJP's allegations were based on a video, that a Vishwa Hindu Parshad member had taken of the girl, while she was admitted in a hospital for pesticide poisoning. She had attempted suicide by drinking pesticide.

In the video she is heard saying the warden of her boarding school hostel had asked her parents whether she would convert.

On Thursday, however, a new video surfaced, in which the girl seemed to be refuting the allegations of conversion. When asked on camera whether she was prevented from wearing a bindi at school, the girl responds in the negative.

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No Complaint During Regular Inspections

The report by the education department, has revealed that in the past 10 years, 16 periodical inspections have been conducted in the school, and no complaints about any attempt of forced conversion were recorded.

The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation, that runs the school, has been involved in academic work for the past 180 years. The school in this case was instituted 160 years ago and the hostel has been functioning for 90 years.

"So far, the department has not received any complaints about forced conversion from the students there. The district education officers visited the school and spoke to the students who confirmed the same. Since the school has been functioning as per regulations, there is no recorded history of such an issue," read the report.

'Speeches of Authorities Not Christian by Nature'

The report gives a break up of the number of students who had studied in the school over the years. The data shows that a majority of the students belong to the Hindu community.

As per the report, in the current academic year 2021-2022, of the 677 students of the school, 444 belong to the Hindu community, 219 are Christians and 14 students are Muslim.

From 2012-2022, of the 7,739 students who studied in the school, 5,270 were from the Hindu community, 2,290 from the Christian community, and 179 were Muslims.

"Since the majority of students in the school are from other faiths, it has been noted that the headmistress and other teachers did not indulge in giving speeches which are 'Christian by nature'."
Report by Thanjavur Education Department
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Girl Chose to Stay Back in Hostel Even During Holidays: Report

The report explained that the 17-year-old girl had complained of a stomach ache on 10 January. The parents were informed immediately and she was sent home. On 15 January, police visited the school to interrogate the school authorities. The headmistress, Rachael Mary, was then informed by the police that the girl had attempted suicide by consuming a pesticide, Agrosone, that was used in the school garden.

The report of the education department also highlighted that the girl chose to stay back in the hostel even during holidays.

In March 2020, when the lockdown was imposed, all the students went back home to their parents, the girl chose to stay back at the hostel. She got 487/500 in the class X conducted in 2020 and stood first in the school.

Listing out the number of days she attended class, the report stated that the girl had attended 18 days of class in February-March 2021, and then did not appear for a single virtual class. She then came to school for 12 days in September 2021, 14 days in October, 13 days in November, 21 days in December, and 10 days in January 2022.

An explanation has been sought from the missionary school, where the teenager was studying, by the school education department. The case will be heard by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday.

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