Owner of India’s legendary Tirunelveli alwa shop, Iruttu Kadai, Hari Singh reportedly died by suicide on June 25. Hari had tested positive for the novel coronavirus SARS CoV-2. He was reportedly undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Palayamkottai as he had a fever. His samples were taken and he had tested positive for COVID-19 while still at the hospital. Though the private hospital was planning to shift him to a COVID-19 facility, he was found dead at the hospital. He was 80 years old.
"We received information just minutes back that he was found dead,” Deepak M Damor IPS, Commissioner of Police, Tirunelveli City, told TNM. “Prima facie, it seems like a death by suicide. We have received information that he was COVID-19 positive and was admitted in a private hospital for treatment. He was found dead at the hospital itself. Further investigation is underway,” he added.
Doctors across the country have repeatedly maintained that patients who have contracted COVID-19 need not get anxious over the virus and that any symptoms that they suffer from are treatable. In addition to this, with the correct precautionary measures, the spread of the virus can also be controlled.
Tirunelveli, as of Wednesday, had 242 patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19. The district had also reported that five patients had died while getting treated for the disease in hospitals. Tirunelveli was among the earliest hotspots for COVID 19 in the state with clusters spreading due to the single-source event. The district has reported 680 COVID-19 cases so far with 433 discharges.
With a legacy of at least 110 years, Tirunelveli’s fame is attributed to this sweet, devoutely dished out by Singh’s family, who have been doing it for generations. The shop itself is a small set-up and has been maintained as such by the family. It is located quite close to the Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli town and the name is a reference to its outlook; ‘iruttu kadai’ meaning dark shop.
What makes the Iruttu Kadai even more exquisite is their timings. The shop functions only between 5 and 8 pm all through the week during which time patrons from across the world can be found queuing outside with their hands stretched in to take home packets of this famous sweet made using a laborious process but with three simple ingredients - wheat, sugar and plenty of ghee.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional suppport to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 amd and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to inidviduals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.