Revathi's Rise: A Dalit Widow's 7-years Battle for Justice continues
Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu— Revathi's life was once filled with joy and contentment as she tended to her four young children and cherished her loving husband. But one day, her world turned upside down when the police took away her husband, who was kept in illegal detention, tortured to an extent that he never returned home. After seven years now, Revathi, the 35-year-old young dalit widow has emerged as a warrior, braving the odds and fighting against the merciless cops aa well as the system . Revathi is now a leader in the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Tamilnadu chapter and a symbol of courage for women who have faced similar struggles. Revathi is not much educated and speaks only Tamil. So when The Mooknayak approached her, it was M. Arokiamary, a lawyer and the AIDWA secretary who narrated Revathi's story.
Speaking to The Mooknayak, Arokiamary said, " Revathi'a kids Suhasini, Nivasini, Sona and son Varshid were 9, 6, 4 and 3 years old respectively, when their father died. Her husband, E Subramani, a daily wager painter, was taken into police custody on 28 May 2015 and was subjected to custodial torture, leading to his death nine days later in a hospital. Revathi has been battling for justice ever since, and her tireless efforts have finally led to the case being recognized as a homicide". The Cuddalore court has ordered the district police to book a police inspector, a sub-inspector, and a constable for murder in police custody, as well as to book the case under various sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The lawyer said that the accused have moved to the High Court and the next hearing is slated for 13th February. " The court procedures takes time but we are sure and hopeful that Revathi will get justice" the lawyer said.
The horrendous police torture
Revathi recalls the events of the fateful night when Subramani was taken into custody illegally on charges of a woman's murder. She recalls the moment when she and her husband were sleeping, and a knock at the door was followed by several unknown individuals dragging her husband outside. When the neighbors attempted to intervene, they were beaten back, and Revathi was taken to the township police station the next morning, along with her children who had woken up during the commotion.
Over the next few days, Revathi was questioned by the police, who threatened and verbally abused her. Despite her pleas to see her husband, she was not allowed to do so until she submitted a memorandum to the Superintendent of Police three days later. Upon seeing Subramani, she noticed that he had several injuries and was swollen all over, with missing nails and scratches.
He was tied upside down to a cashew tree and brutally beaten. Cops jumped with boots on his lap. He couldn't walk when he was released from the station. Subramani was taken to JIPMER Hospital in Puducherry on June 4, where he died two days later. The villagers of Melpattampakkam staged a road roko, alleging that Subramani died due to police torture.
Support from people & Dalit organisations
Revathi has received support from various Dalit and women's organizations, which have helped her with her legal battle and with standing on her own feet. Her husband's passing left her with the arduous task of not only grieving the loss of her loved one, but also the overwhelming responsibility of ensuring the survival and well-being of her four small children. Revathi's daily struggles were amplified by the fact that her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family and now she was left with no means of financial support.
The weight of her newfound responsibilities was crushing as she tried to navigate the complexities of life as a single mother, in a society that often discriminate against women who find themselves in such circumstances. Despite these challenges, she refused to give up and was determined to overcome the obstacles. Revathi remains steadfast in her pursuit of justice, stating that she will fight the case until she receives it.
AIDWA TamilNadu president Valentina told The Mooknayak that they have demanded a government job for Revathi. Despite repeated efforts and memorandums sent to the RDO, collectorate, and the Chief Minister's cell, no action has been taken so far. Revathi's story is a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice and equality that many marginalized communities continue to face. Presently, Revathi's household expenses and children's education is completely been taken care of by the AIDWA and the Communist party.
Unwavering commitment to the cause
Revathi is a full time party worker and treasurer of the woman's organisation. Her eldest daughter is now reading in class 10th while the others are in 7th, 6th and 4th standards respectively. Revathi's story is a heart-wrenching tale of the ongoing fight for justice in India. Revathi is a reminder that the fight for justice and equality is far from over and that there is still much work to be done in ensuring that marginalized communities receive the justice and dignity they so rightfully deserve.Revathi's tenacity in the face of adversity serves as a beacon of hope for those who have lost loved ones and are searching for solace in the pursuit of justice.