Chennai caste killing: After husband’s murder, wife dies by suicide

22-year-old Praveen belonging to the Paraiyar caste (classified as Scheduled Caste) was killed by Sharmila’s brother Dinesh (24) and four other men in the Pallikaranai locality on February 24.
Sharmila and Praveen
Sharmila and Praveen
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TW: Suicide

Nineteen-year-old Sharmila, the widow of Praveen, a caste-killing victim in Chennai, passed away at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) on Monday, April 22. Sharmila had attempted to die by suicide on April 14 but was rescued and admitted to a private hospital for treatment. Her family shifted her to RGGGH on April 15 where she was undergoing treatment.

Sharmila stopped responding to treatment on Monday. The family is now alleging police negligence as the reason behind her death and is seeking a CB-CID probe.

Twenty-two-year-old Praveen, who belonged to the Paraiyar caste (classified as Scheduled Caste), was killed by Sharmila’s brother Dinesh (24) and four other men in the Pallikaranai locality on February 24.

Four out of the five men – including Dinesh – are caste Hindus, belonging to the Yadava community (classified as Other Backward Caste), while the fifth man is a Christian from the Pariyar caste. 

Although the men were arrested and charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 302 (murder) and under Section 3(2) (v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the victim’s family had levelled allegations of police negligence, saying that the crime could have been prevented. They also said that Sharmila’s parents, Durai Kumar and Sarala, and eldest brother Naresh (25) had abetted the crime.

G Chitra, Praveen’s mother, in a written complaint to the Tambaram Commissioner dated April 22, claimed that Sharmila attempted to die by suicide since the police failed to add her parents’ and elder brother’s names to the charge sheet. She claimed that the police are supporting Sharmila’s family and that it caused Sharmila great distress. In her complaint, Chitra also alleged that when two of the accused- Sharmila’s brother Dinesh and Jothi Lingam, had applied for bail earlier in April, the police didn’t inform the family that they could challenge the bail application. The police allegedly only delivered the court’s summon notice one day prior to the summoned date.

Citing these reasons, Chitra has also requested that the case be transferred to the CBCID.

It may be noted that Sharmila had earlier told TNM that she suspected her father to be backed by powerful people since he is the Deputy Organising Secretary in the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party’s construction wing in Sholinganallur.

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 support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584


Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 6500022


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 am and 7 pm)

Aasara offers support to individuals 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.

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