The residents of Maruthuvampadi village in Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu have submitted a petition to the district collector seeking action against the Roman Catholic church in their village as the church has constructed a wall to block the pathway of the villagers.
The villagers alleged that the church has done this because they refused to convert.
The church also runs a school in the area. It has refused to provide education to the children who have refused to convert.
Tamil local daily, Dinamalar, reported that more than 3000 Hindu residents of the village are denied access to the public road because they refused to convert to Christianity. The residents are scheduled caste.
In their petition to the district collector, the Hindu residents of the village have accused Fr.Yesupadam, the administrative officer of the school run by the Catholic church, of forcing them to convert to Christianity. The villagers said that the Christian cleric built a compound wall around the church to block the public road.
On being questioned, the Christian cleric claimed that the land in question is a property of the church and he can build a wall around it. The residents of the village said that the road has been there for more than 100 years and people have been using it without any hindrance. But, now since it has been blocked, people are forced to travel a long distance to get access to public transportation facilities.
Multiple residents complained that they were happy once the school re-opened after almost two years of Covid-19 forced pandemic, they were happy to send their children to school but the school asked them to convert to Christianity first.
The parents alleged, “Hindu students don’t get any concessions. We pay the full tuition fee and other fees the school demands. Yet our children were asked to not come in exam time. Only Christian children are allowed inside the school now.”
Forcing students in schools to convert to Christianity had surfaced in Tamil Nadu in January this year when Lavanya, a 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur, was allegedly forced to commit suicide for her refusal to convert to Christianity.
She had consumed poison on January 9 and struggled for her life in a hospital for 10 days before succumbing on January 19.
In her dying declaration, Lavanya had said that there was pressure on her to convert to Christianity. She was tortured after her refusal to convert.
In a judgement delivered on February 14, the Supreme Court had upheld the Tamil Nadu High Court’s decision of transferring the Lavanya suicide case to the CBI for investigation.
The Madurai bench of the Tamil Nadu High Court had transferred the case to the CBI. The Tamil Nadu government had challenged the Tamil Nadu High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court. Lavanya’s parents had moved the High Court demanding CBI investigation in the case as they feared the state government was not doing a fair investigation.
The ABVP fought a fierce battle to ensure justice for Lavanya. ABVP’s National General Secretary Nidhi Tripathi, along with other ABVP activists, was jailed by the Tamil Nadu government for fighting for justice for Lavanya.