Mob attacks Catholic school, nuns over student’s suicide

The rampaged school auditorium


By Robancy A Helen

Chinnasalem, April 1, 2019: A mob, allegedly instigated by Hindu right-wing groups, attacked a Catholic school in Tamil Nadu after one of its girl students committed suicide.

More than 200 people on March 26 came on a truck and rampaged Little Flower Higher Secondary School, Chinnasalem, some 260 km southwest of Chennai, capital of the southern Indian state, Father Arputharaj, an official of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore, told Matters India.

The girl, Poongulazhi, was a tenth grader in the school, which is managed by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known as Blue Sisters, in the archdiocese.

The priest said Poongulazhi committed suicide at Kallakurichi, her village called near Chinnasalem, on March 25. Her parents informed the police immediately after her death.

There was no suicide note. However, the 15-year-old girl had reportedly told her school friends that she had not done well in the final school examinations and she feared scolding from her parents.

The following morning, the girl’s relatives entered the school along with activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, national volunteers’ corps), the umbrella body for Hindu nationalist groups, and attacked the nuns and the staff.

Women in the group tried to strangulate the nuns with their chain and tried to disrobe them pulling their saris.

The mob also destroyed computer sets and school furniture. Four nuns and two school staff were admitted in the local government hospital. They are out of danger, the school authorities said.

Although the school is close to the local police station, no action was taken to prevent the attack, Father Arputharaj alleged.

He said the nuns’ supporters hesitate to stage a protest in view of the upcoming general election.

Only one local Tamil newspaper reported the girl’s suicide, but not the attack on the school and the staff, the priest regretted.

On March 30, the nuns’ provincial Sister Asir held a press meet to explain the situation. She alleged the RSS had provoked the girl’s relatives to attack the school. She asked the police to speed up the case. If they would not do it, the Church will hold protests condemning the act, she warned.

Meanwhile, the archbishop has set up a committee of lawyers and priests to study the matter.

The girl’s relatives had demanded money. Since the girl’s family is poor, the nuns said they transferred 50,000 rupees to the parents’ account. But the mob demanded more and attacked the nuns and later staged a sit-in near the school.

The provincial said the school would transfer another 250,000 rupees to the parents’ account in due course of time.

Have Something to Say? Comment on Facebook

6 thoughts on “Mob attacks Catholic school, nuns over student’s suicide

  1. Yes, you are right. They are guilty in this, because the girl committed suicide and to cover up the matter they have raised a big hue and cry that Hindus are attacking them. Now instead of media and others focusing on the girl and her suicide, are now just talking about who attacked them etc. The money is just hush money to the parents to say look you lost your daughter now just take the money and go away. very unfortunate.

  2. What if this incident had taken place in a Hindu institution . Would the RSS raped the Hindu teachers. Would they have demanded a ransome from the principal… All comes down boiling just because it is a Christian institution because we are soft and peaceful and don’t do riots

  3. Giving money (Rs.50,000 now Rs.2,50,000 later) to the student’s family raises many questions.
    a) Are the sisters feeling pity?
    b) Are the sisters feeling guilty?
    c) Are the sisters trying to HIDE some truth related to the suicide of the student?
    d) Are the family members demanding money from the sisters since they know certain truth about the untimely death of the student?

    A thorough impartial investigation will bring out the truth. Let the truth triumph!

  4. This is nonsense. Why are the nuns transferring this money? Are they guilty or are they afraid of some one? You cannot have the cake and eat it… It is a shame… everything… Our education system and the emotional balance of our children and the ignorance of the parents… all a shame… Oh.. India wake up… it is too late

  5. Chhotebhai is very orthodox styled catholic. Thank you… But you must know when a religious running a school it is not a mere school (nuns are voluntarily taken the vow for monastic life. To love Jesus more closely.).It is supposed to be Centers to impart hope, charity and faith. It also should promote and inculturate virtuous culture in the minds of its students and highly paying parents. It is a wonder to search and see, last year statics shown in nuns running catholic schools produced so many depressed students who committed suicide. Tell me what is the purpose of nuns involving in this school business or so called education ministry!!!
    I am sorry to tell you. You go to any convent school for admission… They have three/ four phases text to get only good students in their convent schools. criterion are like: parent’s capacity for giving fees, students who are not antisocials, their capacity for writing and speaking… They humiliate indirectly the students who come from non catholic schools and govt schools who are poor. The nuns will see to it the students parents are able to send for tuition classes for better study the school is not giving. Bus payment is another game, uniform game, books profit are another game.
    After all these processes if they are getting a best milieu for school why students are still made hopeless and try suicide attempt? Is it not the negative style of modern religious nuns. Those nuns strike in public and goes for night tv shows, do you belive anything good will come from their other than producing anti social generation.
    In this particular case I feel pity on the nuns but in general I rejoice when institution church is wavering besides their huge money power and political influence not able to do anything..

  6. Such violence is unwarranted. If the child died in her home how is the school culpable. It is also not liable to pay compensation or damages. Who is advising these sisters?

Leave a Response