The state recorded most number of murders of senior citizens (167 cases and 173 victims), earning it a dubious first position in the country .
In other offences like murder, attempt to murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder, the state remained in the top-three positions.
Pune city , in particular, has not been very safe either.Several horrifying offences against senior citizens and multiple cases of chain snatching had been recorded in 2015. For instance, four youths burgled a locked bungalow belonging to an elderly couple in June last year. Burglaries and thefts have also seen a rise, the NCRB data shows.
Activists and lawyers say the root of high crime rate lies in the way people look at senior citizens, who are, unfortunately , considered an financial liability by many . This neglect and subsequent crimes committed against the ageing population amounts to abuse of human rights, said lawyers.
“We must understand how we have come to view our elderly . People actually calculate their (elderly people’s) economic worth. More often than not, it is not deemed to be much, so they are left to live alone. The police, too, are negligent about taking care of them. The best they do is to make safety arrangements during festivals. Such negligence on part of the society and the police amounts to violation of human rights,“ said Asim Sarode, a city-based lawyer and activist.
The Pune police have a helpline for senior citizens (26111103). But police officials admit the numbers of complaints they get are very few.
“Senior citizens do call into the helpline and report their issues, most of which are related to abuse from their children, relatives or from neighbours or local goons.Though this helpline was set up specifically for senior citizens to notify us about their grievances, the number of complaints we get are very few and far in between. It is possible that people may not be aware of this facility or they are hesitant in approaching police with their pro blems,“ said a police official.
Associations that deal with old-age issues say that a trust deficit between the police and senior citizens is indeed existent. They , however, think the reason for rise in crime against senior citizens is linked to the “changing character“ of the city .
“We had a meeting with police commissioner Rashmi Shukla in July . She has taken steps to bridge the gap between police and senior citizens.Policemen now visit the elderly in plainclothes and interact with them. New tech nology is being tapped to bridge this gap even more.But the rise in crime against seniors in the city is linked to the changing character of the city. Pune used to be called the pensioners’ paradise with well-off people living in close-knit neighbourhoods.That is no longer the case. People do not interact with each other and live a secluded and isolated life. That is why many of them are susceptible to crime,“ said Anjali Raje, executive director of International Longevity CentreIndia.