Vanishing Existence of Elderly; Crimes Doubled in 5 years Against Senior Citizens, Mocking on Their Helplessness!

January 23rd, 2015

senior citizen2

Centre for Public Policy, New Delhi

Law student arrested for killing elderly woman – Elderly woman, trying to stop robbery, stabbed 27 times – Son kills parents over property dispute; some headlines which mourn aloud about the current-victimized-elderly India.

Once a haven for senior natives, India now completely falsifies the famous axiom “Japan is the heavenly abode for children, America is for adolescents and India is for Elders”. According to Help Age India analysis, one out of eight elderly said “no one cares that they exist” and about 13% felt trapped in their own homes.

Another report on increasing crime against elder states that “Abuse of senior citizens starts at their own home; but fear of family shame, ‘log-kya-kahenge mindset’ and dependency on the abuser prevents the issue from going out of the four walls”. Many elders suffer indignity from the hands of those whom they taught to say their first words and helped take their first steps.

According to NCRB’s 2010 Report, 32,496 innocent senior citizens were murdered in a decade (2001-2010) and the recent data shockingly reflect a double-digit growth in elderly crimes in Indian subcontinent. More than 25% of crime against senior citizens were committed by their close ones; particularly their son, daughter-in-law, relatives, neighbors and even servants.

A Help Age India’s 2011 study over elderly crimes, conducted in around 12 major cities of India highlighted different kinds of elder abuse, involving 60% verbal abuse, 48% physical, 37% emotional and 35% economical. Almost 20% elderly live in isolation and have been neglected by their families and society.

Key reasons behind victimization of senior home-alone-Indians are said to be property disputes, caste rivalries, living alone, lack of attention from law and rural factionalism. In this ever-growing-changing India, modern sociological developments and adoption of nuclear-family-system have isolated elderlies; leaving them vulnerable to different social-security problems.

According to police reports, a total number of 19 murder cases of senior citizens were registered in 2012 in the Delhi / NCR region, which is 4 times more than the cases registered in 2011. Despite several initiatives taken by the Delhi police & local governance, capital tops in crime against older people followed by Mumbai and Bangalore.

According to Article-41 of the Indian Constitution, “The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want”. So the government has framed and implemented policies that benefits elderly Indians; National Policy on Older Persons – 1999, The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill – 2007. Unfortunately, these policies look good only on paper but have totally failed to protect elderly from crimes against them.

Centre for Public Policy recommends that immense experience and knowledge of our seniors can provide valuable suggestions to the ministries, think-tanks, corporate et al. Involving seniors in the advisory jobs will also provide elderly a greater social recognition and needed importance to empower their existence. Apart from providing elderly with pension and security essentials, government should work on creating a framework that can utilize best from the senior community of India.

To minimize victimization of isolated elders, it’s essential for their close-ones to provide emotional support and keep an eye on those with whom the elderly interact. Moreover, in case elders have any doubts on the intentions of caretakers, relatives, their own children they must take legal help. Opting silence against the abuser to safeguard the family reputation is wrong and can lead to disasters.

The younger generation needs to understand the fact that what is the present of our elderlies is going to be our future too. So it’s important that we respect our elders and build a cohesive-interdependent-atmosphere within the society that can benefit all.

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