While the spate of murders of senior citizens continues in the city, Elderline, an initiative launched by the Mumbai police to protect senior citizens, has become seemingly ineffectual over the past year.
The Mumbai police had launched the helpline — 1090 — on May 2, 2006, after increased attacks on senior citizens. An officer who was earlier part of the initiative said, “Until last year, 39,000 senior citizens across the city had registered with us. However, there has hardly been any new registration as senior policemen did not consider it that important. The process has more or less stagnated.”
A senior inspector of a police station in the central suburbs confirmed the state of affairs. “We do continue to register senior citizens when they approach us. However, in the past few months, there has not been a single senior citizen who came forward to register himself.”
The officer added, “The initiative depends on the top brass. If the senior officers feel it is useful, they create awareness about it and more people register.”
Senior citizens can call the helpline when they need medical assistance, when there is a threat of physical violence, or their lives are at risk. Local policemen regularly visit households of those senior citizens registered with them to check after them.