When Vanithamani (37), a resident of Negamam town in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, found herself pregnant with her sixth child, she and her husband, Selvaraj, opted to terminate the pregnancy due to their financial circumstances. Fearing the backlash and shaming they might face at a hospital, the couple turned to 57-year-old Muthulakshmi, a practitioner of Ayurveda, who was running a clinic at her residence in Vadachittur. None expected the tragedy which followed.
Vanithamani died on Sunday, allegedly due to a botched and illegal abortion procedure by Muthulakshmi. Incidentally, this is not the first police complaint against Muthulakshmi. In 2017, an FIR was filed against her for practising allopathic medicine when she is an ayurvedic practitioner. However, with the case pending in court, Muthulakshmi has been continuing to run her clinic.
According to the complaint lodged by Vanithamani’s 19-year-old son at the Negamam police station, Vanithamani and Selvaraj had approached Muthulakshmi explaining their situation and sought her help in terminating the pregnancy. Muthulakshmi and her son Karthik went to the couple’s residence on Sunday morning and administered an unknown injection to Vanithamani. Following this, at around 2 pm, the duo took Vanithamani and Selvaraj to their clinic and started treatment. Around 6 pm, she was brought back home. Marimuthu has stated to the police that his mother was ill when she came back home and that she was ‘immobile.’ She was rushed to the Government Hospital in Pollachi, but died on the way.
An FIR has been lodged with the Negamam police against Muthulakshmi and her son, under Section 314 of the IPC (death caused by act done with intent to cause miscarriage), but the duo have yet to be apprehended according to police. There were allegations that Muthulakshmi was spotted in Nagapattinam on Wednesday afternoon, however, the police have refuted this.
In 2017, during a routine inspection by the Health Department, an official noticed that Muthulakshmi was prescribing allopathic medications in her ayurvedic clinic and lodged a complaint with the police. The case has since been pending in court. Meanwhile, Muthulakshmi has been continuing to run her clinic along with her son. According to the police, Muthulakshmi holds a Diploma in Ayurveda Medical Science and Karthik had studied Siddha, a system of medicine that focuses on healing by restoring balance to the mind and body.