People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 18

April 30, 2006



Comrade Leelavathy Memorial At Madurai

A Fighter For The People


K S Nathan & S Paul David


MARTYR Leelavathy – is a name etched in the memory of the people of Madurai.

Nine years back, on March 24, 1997 Comrade Leelavathy was brutally murdered in the streets in broad daylight. She was then a councillor of the 59th ward of the Madurai corporation and a member of the Madurai urban district committee of the party. In her ward, anti-social elements were engaged in the sale of illicit arrack and collection of ‘mamul’. They were controlling even the supply of drinking water. Common people were forced to pay a price for getting their drinking water regularly to these elements. It is at this juncture, Leelavathy was elected as councillor of this ward. She courageously tried to put an end to these atrocities. Unable to tolerate her fight for the people, the hooligans dragged her by hair and hacked her to death. Entire Madurai city was shocked. Thousands of people attended her funeral.



In 1997 itself, Madurai urban district committee of the party decided to build a memorial for Leelavathy. Good-hearted individuals donated the land for the memorial. Harkishen Singh Surjeet laid the foundation stone on July27, 1997. Liberal contributions in cash and in kind from the people from all walks of life flowed in enthusiastically. During the past nine years, Madurai urban district committee has faced seven elections – four Parliamentary elections, two Assembly elections and one local body election. Amidst these hectic political activities, the district Committee has put in great effort to construct this memorial.




Madurai urban district committee of the CPI(M) has built the memorial for Comrade Leelavathy and opened it on April 14, 2006. April 14 also happened to be a Tamil New Year day and also Dr. Ambedkar’s Birthday.

In Villapuram, where Leelavathy was done to death, a memorial costing Rs. 25 lakhs had been constructed. More than 5000 people were present. There were welcome showers that did not disturb the proceedings. But were just enough to minimise the heat
of the summer day! The programme commenced with the cultural programme performed by Pudukai Boopalam Art Troupe.  R Jothiram, Madurai urban district secretary, in his presidential address quipped, "Nature praises martyr Leelavathy’s memory with its flowery showers!" South gate area committee secretary M S Murugan welcomed the gathering. Prakash Karat declared the memorial open. State committee secretary N Varadharajan unveiled the portrait of Leelavathy. State secretariat member D Lakshmanan unveiled the stone plaque. The function was attended by W R Varadharajan (Central Committee member), P Sampath (state secretariat member), P. Mohan MP. State committee secretary  N Varadharajan in his address described Madurai as a land of martyrs. Madurai is a land nurtured by great leaders like Comrade P Ramamoorthy,  A. Balasubramnian, M R Venkatraman, K P Janakiamma and martyrs like Mari, Manavalan, I V Subbiah, Poonthottam Subbiah, Pothumbu Ponniah, Railway Ramasamy, Kutty Jeyaprakash, and student leaders Somasundaram and Sembulingam. It was an emotional moment for all those present, when N Varadharajan recalled what Leelavathy had said in a meeting of the district committee: "My life may be at risk because of the anti-social elements. But I shall lay my life holding aloft the red flag of the Party!" Words that expressed her determination and dedication!



In his address, Prakash Karat said that Comrade Leelavathy was the ‘first woman martyr’. Behind the increasing participation of women in active politics, figures like Comrade Leelavathy are guiding forces, he said. In the fight for the defense of the nation’s sovereignty and workers’ rights, we have to oppose the enemies of the people, he added. The martyrdom of Comrade Leelavathy has added strength to our glorious tradition of sacrifice, he said. In the context of the Left Front winning for the seventh consecutive time in West Bengal and the LDF set to form government in Kerala, the struggle for safeguarding democracy in Tamilnadu also should succeed, he emphasised.


M.Chellam, woman councillor of Madurai corporation who was elected twice from Ward 59 after the death of Comrade Leelavathy proposed vote of thanks. All those present marched in a procession to the public meeting where the candidates were introduced.


It is our task to fulfill the ideals for which Comrade Leelavathy laid down her life. One could hear the voice of the gathering,  "We, the sons of the brave Mother of Villapuram are coming!"