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TN: 7 Years On, Wife of ‘Custodial Torture’ Victim in Cuddalore Keeps Fight Alive

Sruti MD |
Revathi, a dalit wage labourer, is now an AIDWA leader, and a ‘symbol of resistance’ for other women.
Revathi, a wage labourers and wife of Subramanian, who allegedly died due to police torture.

Revathi, a wage labourers and wife of Subramanian, who allegedly died due to police torture.

E Subramani (35) was picked up by the Tamil Nadu police from his house in Melpattampakkam in Cuddalore in May 2015, and he never returned home. Since then, his wife Revathi has been waging a legal battle to get justice for alleged custodial torture meted to him leading to his death.

Last year, in August 2022, the case, which was registered as a suspicious death, was termed homicide. The Cuddalore court directed the district police to book a police inspector, a sub-inspector and a constable for murder in police custody. 

The court also directed the police to book the case under various sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

At present the CB-CID is handling the case. The accused cops have moved the Madras High Court to stay the agency’s action against them.

A few dalit and women’s organisations are helping Revathi with the legal fight. She is a wage labourer and they are also helping her stand on her own feet. She has four school-going children, three daughters and a son.

Revathi told NewsClick that she will fight the case till she gets justice.


Revathi narrated the events from when her husband was picked up from their house in the middle of the night on May 29, 2015 to his death nine days later.

We were sleeping and there was a knock on the door. When we opened the door, two-three people came in and dragged my husband out. We did not know who they were. They took him into the car that was parked nearby” said Revathi.

When the neighbours came to check on us, they were beaten and asked to stay inside” she added.

Revathi said the police came back for her the next morning and she was taken to the township police station in Neyveli.

My children, who had woken up hearing the police, were also taken into the car. The police gave them no time to put on their clothes, they were only wearing their inner clothes. They were very young then” she said.

The eldest daughter was in Class IV then.


The police questioned Revathi over the next few days. She said she was verbally abused by the cops and threatened with manhandling, and her pleas to meet her husband were not heard.

They would take me in the morning and keep me till around 9 or 10 p.m,” she said.

The inspector Raja threatened and asked me “where did you go?”…. He said “you are lying”. I said that we went to Velankanni on the said date we were not around, I don’t know what happened” she said.

Only after Revathi submitted a memorandum to the SP three days later, she allowed to meet her husband.

She said “He had a lot of swelling on his legs. His nails were missing and there were injuries and scratches. His arms and face were also swollen”

Upon seeing us, he started crying. We also cried. When I asked the police if we can take him home, they said ‘no, the inquiry is pending’”.

On June 4, Subramani was taken to JIPMER hospital in neighbouring Puducherry.

The next day while in the hospital my husband told me “I was hung upside down and beaten up in the cashew farm. They ripped my nails off. Burnt me with cigarettes”” she alleged.

On June 6, Subramani died. Melpattampakkam villagers staged a road roko for over an hour alleging that he died because of police torture.


Meanwhile, the All India Democratic Women’s Association or AIDWA, which has been helping out Revathi has demanded a government job for her.

As soon as Subramani died, the district collector and police officials agreed to provide a government job for Revathi, on the grounds of her being a lone woman who is a wage labourer. We have sent continuous memorandums to the RDO, collectorate and the CM Cell, yet no action has been initiated” said S Valentina, president, AIDWA, Tamil Nadu 

IT is the legal battle following Subramani’s death that brought Revathi closer to AIDWA, and she is now the Cuddalore district treasurer of the organisation.

In the recently held AIDWA national conference in Trivandrum, Revathi was honoured as one of the ‘Symbols of Resistance’ for her continuous fight for justice.

Revathi was honoured in the AIDWA national conference for her sustained fight.

Revathi was honoured in the AIDWA national conference for her sustained fight.

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