Bhubaneswar: Elderly citizens living alone often become soft targets of looters and desperadoes in the city. Incidents of crime against senior citizens have been reported in the city without visible remedy for years.
Looting elderly citizens with threats and coercion and armed attacks on them during their morning walks have been reported to police in the recent months. Attack on an elderly trade unionist, Jatikanta Behera, at Kalarahanga under Infocity police limits had become a sensation in July last.
However, Commissionerate Police seems oblivious of incidents of attack on elderly persons because special cells meant for them invariably remain inactive and exist only “on pen and paper”.
“Staff shortage” is the frequently used phrase in police parlance when you want to know how well the cops provide social security measures for the elderly people in the city. The Commissionerate Police launched special cells to deal with problems of elderly citizens in urban police limits across the state with much fanfare in 2009. The cells have become crippled, invariably.
The Police Department has issued several circulars time and again to sensitise its officers in this regard. In 2018, all SPs and DCPs were advised to open separate Senior Citizen Security Cells (SCSC) to provide ‘safe and secure atmosphere to senior citizens of the society’.
A sub-inspector-rank officer has been designated as a Nodal Officer in every police station to handle the SCSC cell. Similarly, at least one or more constables were appointed to help the Nodal Officer in each police station.
The duty of such officers is to ensure safety and security of senior citizens and verify antecedents of domestic helps engaged at their houses. The officers have been instructed to visit houses of elderly people living alone and to guide them on appropriate safety and security measures like CCTV cams and installing iron grills at their gates.
Motorcycles issued to SCSCs are used for normal law and order duties at the police stations. Elderly people also allege that the officers never visited them in the past five years.
Whatsapp groups involving cops and elderly people created at the behest of then Commissioner of Police Satyajit Mohanty in 2018 have been