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Comrade Govindan on ‘Jai Bhim’: 'For Justice, Stayed Unmarried for 13 Years'

Comrade Govindan received several death threats during the time he was helping Parvathi in the case.

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Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

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When Govindan was 26 years old, he came across the story of Parvathy and Rajakannu. "For 13 years I didn’t get married because I didn’t want anyone to blackmail me by saying they would harm my wife or children," he told The Quint.

From the day the Kuravar (tribe) woman's husband was wrongly accused of theft and taken into police custody to the day the policemen who made the arrest were found guilty of custodial murder, the CPI(M) worker stayed by Parvathi's side.

The film 'Jai Bhim' by actor Suriya, directed by T J Gnanavel is currently the highest rated film on IMDb with a score of 9.5/10, and has become the first Indian film to achieve the feat. The film is based on Parvathy and Rajakannu's story. Comrade Govindan too is featured in the film.

Even weeks after the film's release on the OTT platform Amazon Prime, the movie is mired in controversy about caste and community.

The film, based on the real-life incident in 1993, showcases how Justice K Chandru, who was then a lawyer, helped Parvathi win the case. Another hero who made this possible was comrade Govindan.

When The Quint asked Govindan if he liked the way the story was portrayed in the film, he laughed saying, "I haven't watched the film. I didn't expect I will be overwhelmed with people's love and media requests. I am happy that the film has made this much of an impact."

He lauded Suriya and his team for "boldly showing the story of a struggle that involved exposing discrimination that has spanned for years".

Recollecting the ordeal, Govindan explained that he had received several death threats and many even offered him bribes, but he refused them all.

"People even tried to buy my conscience for Rs 25 lakh in return for the promise that I won’t speak a word in court. I discussed with my district team and had even suggested that I give that money to the family who really needs it. They then explained to me that this was not just about the money, as an innocent man was brutally beaten to death. If we let it go this will never end, they cautioned," he said.

Today, Govindan continues to live in a small, modest house in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore. He said, "For me, money never mattered. I wanted to get justice. But it is sad to see that these communities still don't have government issued identification cards and face discrimination everyday. We have not won entirely."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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