Dalit Girl Found Hanging in Textile Mill

Police claim teen killed self unable to bear stomach pain, NGOs raise doubts; co-workers say warden’s abuse tied to victim’s decision

MADURAI: A 19-year-old dalit girl was found dead in a suspicious manner inside a bathroom of a private textile mill near Vedasanthur, Dindigul district on Wednesday.

While police claimed the girl committed suicide as she could not bear her stomach pain, NGOs have raised doubts over the death.

Police said Kalaivani (19), the dalit girl of Kariyampatti village, Karur district, was working for a month under the camp coolie system in the private textile mill near Vedasanthur. Earlier she worked in a private mill in Karur for three years.

On Wednesday morning, when co-workers looked for Kalaivani, they found her hanging inside a bathroom of the mill.

“During an inquiry, it came to light that the girl committed suicide unable to bear her stomach ache,” B Jeyachandran, inspector, Vedasanthur police claimed.

“A team of doctors have done a post mortem and forensic experts from Madurai too inspected the spot where the girl was found dead. During the probe, we followed all the procedures laid down by the High Court,” said Jeyachandran.

However, Kalaivani’s uncle Murugan told Express over phone that when he enquired about the incident with a few other women mill workers, they said the warden of the hostel scolded her on Tuesday night.

“The warden forced Kalaivani to work even after knowing she had fever,” the uncle said.

According to Murugan, the warden reportedly abused Kalaivani in front of others asking her to commit suicide in her village if she could not cope with the working conditions in the mill.

Raising suspicion over the death, S James Victor, secretary, Serene Secular Social Service (SSSS), an NGO working for mill workers in Dindigul district, said , “A few women working in the mill told our members that the factory management threatened them with dire consequences if they disclosed any information about Kalavani’s death.”

Inspector Jeyachandran said , “The probe is at a preliminary stage and we can’t come to any conclusion now. We will probe the case from all angles,” he added.

Kalaivani hailed from a poor family. After her father died a few years ago, she came to work to support her family, sources said.

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The New Indian Express