Traffic was hit at a junction in Kotwalchavadi in north Chennai on Friday when nearly 100 residents staged a road roko seeking an enquiry into the alleged suicide of a woman at her employer’s house.

The residents placed the charred body of Radha (68), a domestic help, on the road and alleged foul play behind her death. Police managed to pacify and disperse the crowd after nearly two hours by promising an enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death.

Police said that Radha had been working in the house of K. Chandresan (78), a black gram merchant and president of the black gram traders association in the city, for nearly three decades. Following the death of her mother four years ago, she was staying at her employer’s house.

On Friday, around 7 a.m., Chandresan went up to the fourth floor of his house to switch on the diesel-run generator and found the charred body of Radha. He immediately alerted the police control room and a team led by S. Gunasekaran, inspector (law & order), Kothavalchavadi police, rushed to the spot. Forensic experts were also roped in for the enquiry.

The body was sent to the Government Stanley Hospital for post-mortem examination. A case under section 174 of IPC was filed.

However, residents of the area and workers in Chandresan’s godown, were not convinced it was an instance of suicide. “We did not hear any noise at all. She would definitely have cried out even if she had set herself ablaze,” said K. Shenbagam, a resident.

Police said that Radha suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes and had been diagnosed with malaria two weeks ago. “There are many godowns in the area and loading and unloading activity takes place throughout the night. Hence, her cries might have gone unheard. However, an enquiry will be conducted into the death,” said assistant commissioner of police (Harbour), S. Radhakrishnan.

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