Seniors march for respect, dignity at Jantar Mantar

NEW DELHI: In a rare outpouring of emotions, senior citizens took out a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar on Friday demanding respect and dignity.

“We want to live with dignity”, “We fear a life of isolation and loneliness,” these were a few of the slogans raised by the participants of the event organised by Confederation of Senior Citizens of Delhi (CSCD) in association with voluntary organisation HelpAge India to mark World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day.Most felt it was important to build awareness and encourage those elderly people who were facing abuse to speak out.

CSCD chairman, 75-year-old J R Gupta, said, “There is strength in numbers. We want the government to know about the problems faced by the elderly daily.”

“Earlier in villages, elderly abuse was unheard of and respect for them was sacrosanct. But with the joint family system breaking up and getting replaced by nuclear families, there is little or no patience or place for elders in the life of working children,” Gupta added.

One of the participants shared a case in which an elderly couple had faced abuse after transferring their property in the name of their children. K L Rana, a resident of Shalimar Bagh, said, “I was very disheartened to see a neighbouring couple who had faced abuse at the hands of their children not coming out in the open out of fear of disgrace and continue to suffer in silence.”

Mathew Cherian, HelpAge India CEO, pointed out the seriousness of the problem. “One out of every four senior citizens faces abuse, which translates to a figure of roughly 26 million across the country,” he added.

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