Christians in India’s Tamil Nadu state have expressed surprise that the state’s high court has admitted a public interest litigation to stop forcible conversion of students in schools.
On May 6, the bench of Justices R. Madhavan and S. Ananthi of the Madras High Court admitted the petition and posted the matter to a regular bench on June 6 after the summer vacation ends.
Jesuit Father Arockiasamy Santhanam, spokesperson for the National Lawyers Forum of Religious and Priests, said the vacation court should not have entertained the petition.
“One wonders what urgency is found in this petition,” said the priest.
Father Devasagayaraj M Zackarias, former secretary of the Office for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said he was surprised the High Court admitted the petition when the incidents it has quoted are still under investigation.
The priest said the case only creates unnecessary disturbance in the state where schools impart quality education, especially to the poor and the marginalized.
He told Matters India that conversion “is always the decision of an individual,” adding that “nobody can be forced to convert to any religion.”
The petition cites the death of a 17-year-old girl by suicide after alleging abuse by her hostel warden, a Catholic nun, to convert her family to Christianity.
The police in January arrested 62-year-old Sister Sahaya Mary, the warden of the hostel in Michaelpatti in Thanjavur district. The nun, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was subsequently released on bail.
Father Zackarias said some fringe elements used the girl’s death to create “unnecessary problems for their political gains.” – read the full story on Matters India