Suicide at prayer meet raises conversion questions

via Express News service - published on November 5, 2008

PALAKKAD: The suicide of a Hindu girl, Pushpa, 26, at a Pentecostal prayer meeting on Sunday in Nemmara has stirred up a hornets’ nest.

The police version was that Pushpa, who was dejected by the problems in her married life, had committed suicide. The issue of large-scale conversion of poor families and the consequent depression they undergo after being isolated from their kith and kin were also the factors behind the suicide.

Express had reported that there were large-scale conversions taking place in the Attappadi belt. The eastern parts of the district like Kozhipara, Meenakshipuram and the areas bordering Coimbatore and Pollachi are fertile grounds for conversion.

The fact was that when families are converted, they are ostracised by their relatives from the Hindu communities.

This makes it difficult for the converted people to attend family functions of their fellow-brethren. On Sunday as the prayer meeting ‘Santhwanam’ was in progress under the auspices of the Nemmara Pentecostal church, Pushpa, came to the meet drenched in kerosene. She climbed on to the stage and in front of a group of 150 people torched herself with a match she had brought with her.

Five women who witnessed the incident fell unconscious. Pushpa, who suffered 80 percent burns, died at the Thrissur Medical College on Monday.

Pushpa’s mother, Parvathy and her brother, Manoj were also present at the prayer meet. They had been attending the pentecostal prayer meets for the past three years.The Nemmara police have registered a case in this connection. The father of the deceased, Pazhaniswamy,a carpenter, is the father of Pushpa.

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