The Lavanya suicide and journalistic priorities


Just finished reading a longish piece on the suicide of the girl named Lavanya in The News Minute – Link 

Its a longish article – which doesnt try to get to the bottom of the death but makes the priorities of the author clear in ascending order

  1. Investigate how BJP/VHP/RSS have a network in TN and want to grow it using cases like Lavanya.
  2. How Christians believe in “forgiveness” virtue
  3. Periyar Ambedkar Anna statues.
  4. What really happened to Lavanya

Of course no one would deny that Sangh parivar would try to catch on to whatever it can to gain ground in the Dravidian bastion of Tamil Nadu. Isnt that what people who want power do ? Or is it just a ticket to politics for Jignesh Mevanis of the world and not for Muthuvel Ariyalur ?

Had it been simply a case of ignoring the incident – as many in TN seem to be doing it is a different thing altogether. However what is clear reading the article is the concerns of the writer are with the potential of this being used as a flank for expansion of Hindutva in the Tamil lands not the death of a poor girl (by whatever reasons).

An example of author’s words

Now, with the Madras High Court showing no confidence in the Tamil Nadu police and ordering a CBI probe into the suicide, the BJP seems to have managed to sneak one past the ruling dispensation in a state where Hindutva has traditionally been outshouted by the Dravidian ideology.

The paragraph titled “A consistent campaign against Christian evangelism” has a section that reads  follows

Aronkumar argued that “only god can dispense justice” and said he has no regrets about forgiving Muthuvel and Sekhar. “After us, they also attacked a group of young evangelists in a village. Then they attacked an elderly Christian lady who was helping terminally ill patients in the government hospital in Ariyalur,” he said. “But all of us forgave Sekhar and Muthuvel. That is the Christian way.”

While the piece ends with some absurd takes on statues, it doesn’t try to even address what may have happened to the poor girl.

Only thing missing the TNM piece is the Brahmanical Patriarchy angle.

Its not the Hindutva movement or their arguments that have worked on me bringing up my Saffron side every now and then – its the gems of journalism and opinions like these that try pushing me on the Saffron side. Krishna save the Indian journalism.

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18 thoughts on “The Lavanya suicide and journalistic priorities”

  1. For those who do not know, TNM is the premier English news portal covering South India. It is likely one of the first websites the English-reading audience goes to for any SI related news.

  2. I’ve been watching the degeneration of US media for several years too. So it’s not just India.

    I really wish people would start to take politics less seriously, or at least not more seriously than they think about sports. So that every newsworthy item is not considered an opportunity to gain political mileage or deny rivals the same.

  3. @Gaurav
    The title of the article matches the story told (about the VHP goons). What did you expect?

    Regarding statues, I think the guy was trying to paint a picture of TN’s unique milieu where the iconoclast Periyar’s statues are often installed next to temples but how the locals rarely bat an eye at the juxtaposition. And how these statues now need cages, which the author thinks is a metaphor for Dravidianism now needing protection. He’s just a bad writer I guess.

    If you really want to know what happened to the girl, you should look elsewhere. The national media as usual did a total hack job in getting to the bottom of the facts. If you are interested, you can read this thoroughly partisan coverage from the other side which I believe is closer to the truth. Hope the google translate conveys the essence.

    For brahmanical angle 🙂 please read about the tricks to get the case listed under a ‘favorable’ judge in Madurai bench of MHC and the master piece of a judgment (dialogue of a full scene from Serious Men film, more dialogue from a K Balachander film, Chanakya serial etc) he wrote for sending the case for CBI investigation.

    1. the piece created buzz on Twitter as a fantastic ground report on Lavanya suicide.
      TNM asked for email id and names and people were receiving email copies before it came out for public – So that was the expectation going into reading the article.
      even if focus is VHP crassness and vigilantism i would as a reader want to wait responsible outlets to start with what is the trigger and atleast mention it in passing before jumping the gun.

      The savukkuonline piece is has more info – though even that doesnt seem to be “journalistic” thanks for sharing anyways.
      it has a lot of info nonetheless

      Horrible that the BJP head like their IT chief shared the video without blurring – first time i read that detail

      Regarding statues, I think the guy was trying to paint a picture of TN’s unique milieu where the iconoclast Periyar’s statues are often installed next to temples but how the locals rarely bat an eye at the juxtaposition. And how these statues now need cages, which the author thinks is a metaphor for Dravidianism now needing protection. He’s just a bad writer I guess.

      I guess but thats just irritating.
      Had the focus been simply on VHP and their crass activities with side note to Lavanya in a few weeks.
      Maybe just a bad piece (but then the article is from a 15 year veteran)

    2. For non-Tamilians, Savukku is an utter fraud and he clearly has an agenda. A cursory glance into his Twitter TL will tell you how rabiidly anti-BJP he is. The guy constantly comes up with slurs against Brahmins and has in past, been supportive of violence. He doesn’t even try to hide it like Dhanya & co who are more subtle in their slant.

    3. Its pretty easy to cast aspersions on the Judge’s integrity by bringing in his caste and that has been the go-to tactic used in Dravidian politics for a century now. And media just focusses on the most irrelevant parts of the judgement (like those passsing comments reg movies) while completely ignoring the substantive reasons due to which the Judge decided to move the case to CBI. This includes a senior police officer and a senior cabinet minister pretty much ruling out the conversion angle right at the start of the investigation! Very strong grounds to conclude that the state govt will not conduct an impartial probe. Please see below tweet thread for full details of judgement.

      1. I know Savukku Shankar is not most people’s cup of tea. If we ignore his acid tongue, he gets the facts right almost always. For a more palatable coverage of the issue which unearthed the same facts, please follow Sandhya Ravishankar (@sandhyaravishan) and India Ahead News; her team was there on ground zero before anybody else.

      2. Timeline:

        – As soon as the hospital reported the suicide attempt on January 15th, the district police took a report from the parents who alleged mistreatment from the hostel warden but absolutely no mention of any forced conversion or retaliation for rebuffing conversion attempts.
        – On the 16th, police promptly took a statement from the girl and rightly got the JM to record her statement – again no mention of force conversion here as well. On the same day, police got the hostel warden under judicial custody. Local VHP gets involved at this point – the wall posters they put up have no mention of conversion either.
        – The VHP goon gets into ICU on the 17th to record the videos. He just sits on it for the next couple of days – never approached the police or court with the new evidence.
        – The girl dies on Jan 19th
        – On Jan 20th, Annamalai and TN BJP release a cropped video declaring forced conversion as the trigger for the suicide. It explodes at national level with the whole BJP ecosystem behind it.
        – The District SP based on JM statement says to the press there is no conversion angle. But she says the video released on SM needs to be investigated and books the VHP goon under relevant POCSO sections. The SP saying there is no conversion angle was really stupid; all she had to say was that all angles are being probed. The Education minister cowtowed the SP with his reports from the Department of Education.

        The parents backed by BJP go to Madurai bench of MHC asking for the case be transferred to TN CB-CID – a strange request if you don’t trust the state agencies to do an impartial investigation. The case gets listed under said Judge (if the petitioners had initially asked for a transfer to CBI, it would have got listed under a different designated CBI judge, wink-wink). The said Judge (rightly) says the video released on SM is enough to not disqualify the conversion angle, but shockingly restrains the police from questioning the SOB who recorded the video in ICU and sat on it for a few days till the girl dies. The petitioners then ask for CBI investigation, which is promptly granted by said judge. The said Judge has on some recent cases gone lenient on certain rabid RW elements. When he was a counsel before, he has openly declared he is a follower of Hindu Munnani (a local TN group right-of BJP) ideology. So I have my suspicions.

        1. This is the version being peddled by the DMK govt and its acolytes, including those in the media. Not like these are undisputed facts. I will readily admit there are gaps in the case. Why was the conversion angle not disclosed earlier by the victim and the family being the main one. But there are also plausible explanations for the same but I dont want to speculate about it.
          What is undisputed is there a video by the girl alleging conversion. Fact also is, right at the start of the investigation, the police, senior minister and the media tried their darnedest to absolve the school of the charge of conversion. Then how can one trust the police to do an impartial investigation? That is the core issue as far as this crime is concerned. Rest are secondary.

          The very fact that the focus has shifted from this core issue to one focusing on Hindutva orgs (who are no angels, but that is beside the point) tells you all you need to know about the political-media ecosystem in the state. To wit, why did not TNM do an investigation on authenticity of the allegations made by the girl and instead chose to focus on a hitjob on Hindutva orgs. TNM is barely concealing its agenda here.

  4. This is so painful to read. Also few days back some Hindu guy named Krishna was killed for “blasphemy”. And there have been no video on WIRE and NDTV channel. I have seen Chritianity growing in Punjab and my 3 friends in my circle are already converted. They retain their same name and turban who got converted. Politicians and communist leftists are determined to destroy Indic civilization which is already gasping its last breath. We need true Brahmins, incorruptible who can guide the society to dharma

  5. Looks like the Hindutva gang is desperate to find their Sabarimala 2.0 in TN. I expect hell to freeze over before a Hindu Political Identity becomes a thing in TN.
    No amount of artificially drummed up media hysteria will make a difference, it’ll make its rounds in RW Social Media and die off, as usual.

    1. Are you really so bigoted that the death of a child due to torture leading to suicide does not move you? Are you only concerned about political mechanizations? You are a blot to humanity.

      1. That exactly was my issue with the article. They can have their boss and some of it is true I would argue — but it just brings out the case of their and this “Enigma”s priority.

        The conversion angle may be overplayed or it may not.. but she clearly suffered something and mostly at hands of the institute

      2. Hindutva clowns on SM are the ones trying to sensationalize this tragedy for political gain. They’re the blight on humanity, i respect the dead by not using them to score political points.

        @Fulto, kindly fuck off with that faux moral outrage of yours. This shit reminds of the Nirbhaya Case, and how the Western Media used the tragedy to demonize India. Unlike W-Media, Indian RW Media is impotent&isolated to an insular N.Indian macrocosm that S.Indians(and rest of the world) couldn’t care less about. Hell, even most English Media outlets in N.India don’t have a fondness for Hindtuva.

    2. “Looks like the Hindutva gang is desperate to find their Sabarimala 2.0 in TN”
      This is true in all likelihood, if not this then Hindutvadis will try to galvanize around some other issue or create issue out of non issue — that’s what they do.

      But does that mean the priorities of this article are “fair” or “justified” ?

  6. LOL, the Tamilians here showcasing their mock concern for Lavanya. As if they care, or can do anything, if it really turns out 2 be a case a forced conversion.

    We know how the movie ends.

  7. you are not special in what pushes your buttons in a particular direction. What worked me up is the recognition of deliberate lies , deception not just misrepresentation. The difference is you still hold hope and give benefit of doubt. I stopped.

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