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CPM leader Mythily Sivaraman dies in Chennai | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: CPM leader and women’s rights activist Mythily Sivaraman, who was instrumental in drawing national attention to the 1992 Vachathi mass rapes, died of Covid-19 on Sunday. She was 81. Mythily was the co-founder and former vice-president of the All India Democratic Women Association.
Mythily had held various positions in the Communist Party of India (Marxist). After working for nearly two years as a research assistant in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, she returned to India in 1968.
Mythily had written widely on the massacre of dalit agricultural labourers in Kilvenmani in Thanjavur district. It was through her writings that the Vachathi mass rapes in Dharmapuri district were documented in detail, drawing national attention to the incident. She visited the tribal villages and interviewed many of the rape survivors.
Mythily was involved in a number of labour rights issues. “I joined CPM along with her (Mythily) after we were part of the Students Socialist Forum that was started with the aim of creating awareness on international issues such as the Vietnam War, and how important was the relationship between India and Cuba. Chennai had then witnessed campaigns on numerous such international issues. She was instrumental in organising massive campaigns. She co-founded socialist journal ‘Radical Review’ to highlight issues on international socio-political issues,” said retired Justice K Chandru.
Mythily had started a monthly magazine “Magalir Sinthanaikal”, the mouthpiece of AIDWA. She also brought a legal aid committee to help women including those affected by domestic violence, he added.
When she was affected by memory loss in her mid 70s, her daughter Kalpana, a professor of IIT – Madras and writer-historian V Geetha compiled her works over nearly two decades in a book titled “Haunted by Fire: Essays on Caste, Class, Exploitation and Emancipation.”
During her prime time, she had written articles in several journals on labour issues.
She is survived by her husband Karunakaran and daughter.
Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and several other political leaders condoled her death.

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