We wish to bring to your notice a case of recurring domestic violence on the university campus. Mr. Kanakiah, a permanent non-teaching staff employee, has been regularly beating up his wife, Kalyani amma and their two kids. He is an alcoholic and is severely in debt. He also does not give enough money in the house for the usual household expenses. All that said, Mr. Kanakiah has been physically violent since the past three years and has often inflicted severe injuries on his wife and the two children. This has also resulted in a lot of emotional trauma for the family. Kalyani amma has sought the help of various political organizations on campus and a number of faculty members, from time to time. She has also approached the police on two occasions and Mr. Kanakiah has been kept in the jail overnight both those times. Students, faculty members, non-teaching staff members have tried counselling and threatening Mr. Kanakiah by turns, but his violent behaviour has only escalated in its degree and frequency. In such situations, Kalyani amma and the two kids spend the night in the rooms of students and return in the morning. They cannot even leave the city because the two kids need to go to school every day. In any case, leaving home is simply a temporary solution when so much is at stake: financial security, the future of the children, social security, among so many other issues.
Things reached a head on 16 January, Monday, when Mr. Kanakiah poured kerosene on Kalyani amma in an inebriated state after beating her and the two kids. Alarmed and extremely apprehensive, Kalyani amma managed to call for help and students helped her approach the police. Please note that this is a grave offence and a lot of us fear for the physical safety of Kalyani amma and her two children.
A lot of people in this campus treat this as a family issue. We urge the university community to realise that acts of violence, whether perpetrated in a family space or workspace, must be firmly opposed. Three years of physical and emotional harassment cannot surely be dismissed as a personal matter. Let’s raise our voices against domestic violence. Let’s join our hands against gender violence.
Join us in a dharna against domestic violence on Monday. Show your support to Kalyani amma and participate in the building of a more gender sensitive campus space.