The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Pressure to Convert to Christianity Drives Medical Student to Suicide Attempt

November 9, 2004, 3:37 am
Mysore Medical College Bulletin

In May this year, the persitent pressure of envangelist instructors at the Mysore Medical College drove a student to attempt suicide in Mysore, India.

Earlier this year third-year nursing student, Manjula, consumed poison unable to bear harassment by her instructor to convert to Christianity. Mrs.Velangani, the Principal of KR Hospital Nurse Training College attempted to forcibly convert the students of the college and was suspended after angry students agitated against her.

Manjula was immediately taken to the emergency ward and after a stomach-wash, she is said to be out of danger. This extreme step angered her collegemates who in full attendance, gheraoed the office of the K.R. Hospital Superintendent and urged him to dismiss Mrs. Velangani on the spot.

Superintendent Mr. B.P. Satyanarayana, reading the depth of the agitation, tried to console the agitating students by promising to shift Mrs. Velangani out of the Nursing College. But students wanted nothing else but her dismissal. On learning about the angry mood of the students, the authorities sent Mrs. Velangani on two month's leave immediately.

By then, the agitation took another turn which seemed to go out of control. The students shouted slogans that Mrs. Velangani involved in conversion. They alleged that she discriminated students on caste basis, by not granting leave to Hindu students, whereas Christian students enjoyed the leave facilities. Some girl students, who were seen crying incessantly, threatened to commit suicide if Mrs. Velangani is not removed from service immediately.

Even the Principal of Mysore Medical College Dr. Chandrashekara Shetty, who arrived later, failed to pacify the angry students.

The news of alleged conversion bid spread like wildfire and Bhajrang Dal activists, led by Convenor, Mr. Premkumar and former Corporator, Mr. Mahadevu, rushed to the hospital and joined the agitating students in their dharna.

There were noisy and heated arguments between the Bhajrang Dal activists and hospital authorities over handling of the situation. Even the majority Christian staff of other departments of K.R. Hospital were seen taking the side of the students. They alleged that the management was hand-in-glove with Mrs. Velangani.

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