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‘Have mercy, get me a bride’

Mumbai policemen are facing a problem they don’t quite know how to tackle. Every day, police stations receive three to four calls on the toll-free helpline for senior citizens, reports Shahkar Abidi.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2008 23:23 IST
Shahkar Abidi

Mumbai policemen are facing a problem they don’t quite know how to tackle. Every day, police stations receive three to four calls on the toll-free helpline for senior citizens — 1090 — with requests that range from the trivial to the bizarre.

The helpline for seniors was started by Mumbai police a couple of years ago to ensure the safety of the elderly. Under the scheme, policemen would pay visits to senior citizens who registered by calling the toll-free number.

“An elderly woman from Carter Road, Bandra, called the police station and demanded a cup of tea. She threatened to call the joint commissioner of police if the tea was not delivered within five minutes,” said an officer from the Bandra police station.

“When we sent her tea from a nearby restaurant, the woman abused the delivery boy for being late.”

“Elderly callers often tell us about minor domestic quarrels and ask us to arrest their family members,” said Pradeep Suryavanshi, senior inspector at Andheri police station.

If requests to help with domestic chores and buying groceries were not enough, policemen in Mulund were asked to look for a suitable bride. “I am 67 years old and alone. Son, have mercy on me and get me a bride,” was a request that came in early this year. “It was funny, but we politely said we can’t help,” said an officer.

Recently, a senior citizen from Mahim called the police station and ordered the officer on duty to send an ambulance. “He called us at least 10 more times and yelled at us in spite of being told that he should call another helpline,” said V M Latpate, senior inspector at Mahim police station.

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