Emergency calls from women, children on rise during lockdown

Chennai: Since the lockdown began in March, Kumaran* (30), a painter, had been out of job. A resident of Kotturpuram Housing board, he stayed inside his house, hoping for normalcy to return. But when the liquor outlets opened, all hell broke loose.

There were youngsters in his neighbourhood who went all the way to the outskirts of the city, brought liquor and sold it in the neighbourhood.

Kumaran, who was short of cash, fought with his wife for money. “On a daily basis he kept asking for Rs 150-200. The arguments turned violent and the neighbours could not take it anymore. Things got more ugly when he began drinking and abusing his family,” says Gavaskar, a neighbour.

Some of them tipped off the police about the illegal liquor sales by the young men and about the domestic violence in Kumaran’s house.

Soon, police conducted a raid and put an end to the activity during which they addressed the abuse in Kumaran’s house. Now, with police intervention and frequent follow ups, the violence has stopped.

One of the side-effects of the lockdown was domestic violence. A press release from DGP’s office said 7,372 calls were made to the State Police department from 24 March to 31 May.

In Tamilnadu, Pudukottai district was the highest in terms of distress calls by accounting for 1,424 calls reporting domestic violence.

The second highest district reporting domestic abuse was Kanchipuram, with 819 cases, followed by Thirunelveli with 705 cases.

Among cities, Coimbatore topped with 257 cases, Salem and Thiruppur with 143 and 105 cases respectively. Interestingly, Chennai had the least number of 45 cases.

As many as 5,395 calls were received by the State Police Master Control Room alone, including cases of child abuse. Majority of the calls were from women alleging domestic violence in their house, meted out by husbands or in-laws.

Most of them were dealt with the police without registering an FIR as majority of the complainants wanted the police to give them a ‘warning’.

Interestingly, Trichy was the only city which did not register a single call. Districts such as Thiruvannamalai and Krishnagiri did not record any such call for help. The least number of call were from Nilgirils and Nagappattinam- both districts recorded just 19 calls each.

The police records stated that cities including Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai, Thirunelveli and Thiruppur received 702 calls.

The North Zone, namely Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore registered 1,255 calls.

The West Zone, comprising of Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, Erode, Thiruppur and Nilgirils recorded 689 calls.

Districts of Central Zone- Trichy, Perumbalur, Ariyalur, Karur, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam recorded 2,066 calls.

The control room received 1,405 calls from the South Zone: Madurai, Virudhunagar, Dindigul, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai, Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari.


Naomi N