Madras High Court Transfers Thanjavur Student Suicide Case to CBI

The girl's father had filed a petition in the court seeking a CB-CID inquiry into her death.

3 min read
Hindi Female

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ordered that the probe into the suicide of a 17-year-old girl, who had died on 19 January, be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A bench of Justice GR Swaminathan passed the order in the petition filed by the father of the Class 12 student, seeking a CB-CID inquiry into her death.

A video of the girl had gone viral after her death, wherein she had alleged that a nun at her school's hostel had tried to force her and her parents to convert to Christianity two years ago. Her death had stirred controversy in Tamil Nadu.



The girl's father had filed the petition stating that he had lost faith in the investigation by the Thanjavur police, and had demanded that an inquiry by the CB-CID or a similar investigating agency be conducted.

The girl died on 19 January. After her death, a video of her emerged, which was reportedly shot when she was admitted to a hospital two days before her death.

In the 44-second video, she 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 had refused.

In its previous hearings, the Madras High Court had asked the person who had shot the video of the girl – a VHP leader named Muthuvel – to surrender his phone to the police for investigating the video.

The court had directed the girl's parents to appear before the Thanjavur Judicial Magistrate and record their statements afresh, which were then submitted to the court in a sealed cover. The court had also asked the police not to 'harass' Muthuvel over the video.


The public prosecutor had told the court that Muthuvel was not cooperating with the investigation and that the police were looking into several angles, and had examined 53 witnesses.

Further, it was argued that the allegations of conversion were not made by the parents at the time the FIR was filed. The prosecution also added that they were not aware of how many videos of the girl were shot in total. The prosecution argued that the said videos were not released until after the girl's death, the allegations of conversion were not made till 20 January, and that it was an attempt to make her death a political issue.

Meanwhile, the school had filed an impleading petition, arguing that it had been facing a 'media trial' and there was a 'political narrative' behind the issue. Advocate Dr Xavier Arulraj, who appeared on behalf of the school, had said that he had sent a confidential affidavit to the judge and questioned why the allegation of 'forced conversion' was not put forth two years ago when it was alleged to have happened.

While the case was being heard by the court, one more video emerged of the girl, which was captured two days before her death. In the newly released video, which is two minutes and 24 seconds long, the girl narrates that she took the step to end her life as the extra work the hostel warden made her do caused her to fall behind in her studies. There was no mention of conversion in this new video.


BJP Welcomes Court's Verdict

The BJP, which had alleged that the girl died because of pressure to convert, has welcomed the court's verdict. A few days ago, the BJP had formed an all-women committee to inquire into the allegation that the girl and her parents were facing pressure to convert to Christianity.

(If you have suicidal thoughts, or if you know someone who needs help, please refer to this state-wise list of credible mental health professionals. Click here for helplines across India.)

(Published in arrangement with The News Minute)

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