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Conversion row: Fight is for justice, it is not against any religion, says BJP

Ariyalur (TN), Jan 30 (PTI) The fight for justice in the suicide of a 17-year old girl student is not against any religion, BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai said here on Sunday.

Defending his party taking up the matter following the allegation of coercion to convert the girl to Christianity, Annamalai said only some individuals have committed ‘wrongs’ and his party’s fight for justice has nothing to do with any religion. The BJP has been demanding a CBI probe to ensure an impartial investigation, he told reporters adding his party is confident of securing justice. Only by finding out the real reasons behind her death, such unfortunate occurrences could be prevented, he said.

Annamalai’s comment came hours after the DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin accused the BJP of pursuing communal politics.

The BJP state chief dismissed the allegation of Stalin that the BJP was trying to garner political mileage by attempting to instigate religious violence and by sowing the seeds of religious chauvinism.

How long people could be misled by such false accusations, Annamalai asked, adding his party stepped in as the authorities did not show an inclination to even conduct a proper inquiry into the question of bid to convert her, he said.

Had a fair inquiry had been assured, there would not have been a need for his party to take up the issue. But right from the beginning, the authorities were on a denial mode claiming that there was no attempt to convert the girl at all, he said.

Hours before the girl died by suicide on January 19, villagers here had staged a protest against the school management in connection with the allegation that she was being forced to convert and police had detained them. Subsequently, that day, the girl ended her life and then the matter was brought to the notice of the party brass by local functionaries to get ‘justice’ for the student.

After her death and only following scrutiny of inputs provided by the villagers and the family, the BJP decided to take up the matter to seek justice for her, the TN BJP chief said. There is no need for her parents to lie on the matter and there is no chance for the girl to utter falsehood just before her death and that is the primary reason why a dying declaration has immense value, he said. Considering all such aspects, the BJP’s initiative is only to secure justice and there is no role for religion whatsoever in the matter and the issue is confined to individuals alone, he emphasised. The inputs provided to the party by the local people and others include a video clip in which the girl had (purportedly) spoken on ‘conversion’ attempt.

Blaming the Tamil Nadu police’s intelligence wing for committing a ‘big mistake’ by giving a ‘religious colour’ to the issue and for ‘misleading’, Annamalai said it showed the ‘incompetency’ of the intelligence department. Even Chief Minister Stalin was ‘wrongly’ briefed on the matter by police, he alleged.

The local police faced pressure on the issue and be it officials or ministers, they spoke on extraneous aspects all along when the matter was still being heard by the Madras High Court and when the probe was yet to be completed by police, he said. Whether such a scenario involving irresponsible comments by those in positions of power would inspire confidence of getting justice, he asked.

Annamalai asked if there could be “two kinds of justice, one for Anitha and another one for Lavanya.” He blamed the DMK for doing politics in the matter of suicide of Anitha. Unlike the ruling Dravidian party, it is not in the ‘DNA of BJP’ to do politics on such issues, he said.

In September 2017, S Anitha hailing from Ariyalur District and belonging to the Scheduled Caste died by suicide as she could not get a seat in a medical college despite excellent score in Class XII board exams. She had fought a legal battle against NEET in court.

Lavanya is the 17-year old girl student of a missionary school in Thanjavur district. She belonged to Ariyalur district. Days ago, she died of suicide. A hostel inmate, she allegedly was coerced to convert to Christianity. A video clip in this connection had gone viral. The school management had rejected the allegation and had blamed vested interests.

Earlier, Annamalai, along with his senior party leaders visited the bereaved family at a village, Vadugapalayam near here and conveyed their condolences. The TN BJP chief handed over a cheque for Rs 10 lakh as financial assistance to the family, a party release said. PTI VGN SS SS

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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