At a Rotary Club seminar in Bangalore speakers called for empowerment of society to prevent domestic violence. Police woman Kiren Bedi, citing a UN report said India ranked third in the world – behind only Poland and Japan – when it came to incidence of domestic violence.
I wonder what the seminar speakers would have done, had they been a witness to the scene in this picture. Domestic violence here, involving an old man and a couple, is being played out in a roadside slum close to a rail crossing at Srirangam, Tiruchi. The reality here cannot be neatly summed up in a seminar paper. Nor do the recommendations made at such gatherings seem actionable on ground.
There was a sizeable traffic hold-up at the level crossing, waiting for the train to pass through. We watched the old man, no less aggressive in his intentions, being smacked by a couple at their door-step. The elevated road was at a height from where we couldn’t intervene physically. Shouts and threats to call the police didn’t deter the young man bashing the old man.
A couple of auto-drivers in the crowd were heard saying it was pointless calling the police , who, they said, invariably arrived after the event , and that too , ‘to milk money from both parties’. So much for the public image of the police. Besides, incidents of domestic violence are said to be so commonlace that society’s response is usually to let the feuding parties have it out among themselves till the cops come to take them away.
Anyway, the feuding slum-dwellers were still at it as a freight train passed by the crossing ; and we move on as the rail barriers were lifted.