Charging that religious and political forces were attempting to undertake a “false campaign” alleging religious conversion over the death of a girl student who was studying in a Christian school in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council (TNBC) on Sunday requested the government and police to take appropriate action over such attempts. “We will always support the steps taken by the government,” it said.
“Religious and political forces that have not attempted to know the real reason behind this regrettable incident in the school are attempting to divert the issue by taking the false campaign of ‘religious conversion’ and are trying to disturb the communal harmony through this campaign,” Archbishop Antony Pappusamy, president of the council, said in a statement.
It was “amusing” to see BJP State president K. Annamalai raising slogans over ‘religious conversion’ instead of demanding legal, appropriate investigation into the incident, the Arshbishop of Madurai said and contended in the statement titled ‘Don’t give religious colour to student’s death’: “We are not considering statements of Mr. Annamalai and his likes in isolation but as a part of the false slogans by majoritarian religious and political forces across the country.”
Maintaining that the TNBC would always support the steps taken by the government, he requested the Tamil Nadu government and police to undertake a neutral investigation into the death of the student. Pointing out that those from “majoritarian communities” form the majority in institutions run by “Christian minorities,” the Archbishop rejected charges that the girl student in the said school was forced to convert.
Regretting the death of the student and expressing condolences to the bereaved family, the TNBC president said it did not have any objection to taking legal action against anyone, who was responsible for the death of the girl. If the arrest of the 62-year-old warden was a legal step, the TNBC said it respected the action of the police in this regard. It also welcomed the action of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in connection with the case.