Elder Abuse is a complex phenomenon which describes the act and effects of abusing an elderly person. You may read WHO’s Report on Missing Voices (World Health Organization) for more clarity.
It is a crime which must be reported in order to be stopped. Factors like advent of nuclear families, growing materialism, greed for wealth and property, intolerance to co-existence, mindless westernization, imbibing pseudo-cultural values contribute to its prevalence in India.
Abuse can be fatal
Shock and embarassment coupled with shame prevent elderlies from pleading for help, thus forcing them to suffer in silence. Continuous abuse though runs a high probability of turning fatal in future. Moreso, as uncontrolled aggression makes perpetrators unmindful of the consequences. Instances of fatal cases abound, much in contrast to prevalent thinking that fatalities are uncommon.
Property disputes are allegedly the major reason behind fatal cases of elder abuse. Desire to ‘make money with no effort’ promotes abusive tendencies in violators. Greed blinds them to reason. Greed tears apart the sacred emotional bond between parents and children. Greed removes all traces of concern for others. Greed prompts children to turn criminals, that too unknowingly, for had they known they’ll be inside jails they wouldn’t have dared commit such ghastly acts.
Real life Cases
1. An 80-year-old woman was allegedly killed by her drunkard son in Outer Delhi for refusing to give in to his demand to sell their house.
40-year-old Somnath strangled his mother Amar Devi with his hands and smashed her head against the floor in Mongolpuri after she turned down his demand to sell the house.
2. Amandeep was unhappy with his father’s decision of giving around 1.75 acres of land, out of his ancestral property of 5 acres, to his daughter Paramjit Kaur.
Amandeep opposed this move of his father, who was adamant to transfer the land to his daughter. Amandeep was later arrested for killing his father. He confessed that he had given his father, Jugraj Singh a glass of milk laced with poison and then also gave him electric shocks to ensure that he was dead, after which he threw the body inside a septic tank.
3. A father was allegedly killed by his own son over a property dispute in Daudpur village of Mubarakpur area.
The incident took place when Ramdhari (55) was attacked by his son Chandrika with a spade after an altercation. Ramdhari was seriously injured in the incident and rushed to the hospital, where he died during treatment.
4. Shyamaladevi’s husband Mohan Rao, who was an accounts officer with the defence forces, had passed away a few years ago. She used to get Rs 7,000 pension every month.
Harshavardhan, an unemployed and a habitual drinker, used to take money from his mother. He was also forcing her to sell off her share in the house and give him money. However, Shyamaladevi used to vehemently oppose his proposals. Y Shyamala Devi, 65, a widow who was living with her three sons at Satya Nagar Colony in Hayatnagar, was killed by her second son, Harshavardhan, at their residence. At around 2.30 pm, Shyamaladevi was sitting in a chair inside their compound wall. Harshavardhan came from behind and threw a boulder on her head. She died on the spot.
5. The retired man, Kummari Bhirugonda, was hacked to death by his son Mallaiah at Thadkal village in Banswada mandal in Nizamabad district.
Mallaiah entered into a heated argument over the pension money and attacked his father with an axe, killing him on the spot. The senior man refused to give money as Mallaiah was wasting it on liquor and other vices.
6. In Maturu in Daulatabad mandal in Mahbubnagar, an elderly woman was allegedly burnt alive by unidentified persons.
They locked her up in a room, poured kerosene and set her ablaze before fleeing the spot. Locals alleged that her son, who wanted to usurp her property, was involved in the incident.
7. 18-year-old, Alok Gari, slit the throat of his 45-year-old father, Fransis Gari, over some petty differences of opinion.
“The boy casually came to the police station and reported that he had murdered his father.” Neighbhours said the deceased was struck with a sharp blade when he asked his son not to drink too much. It led to a heated exchange between the two and then in a fit of rage the son killed him.
8. Miffed over a property row, a son allegedly engaged a hitman to eliminate his 56-year-old father. Nagender Bhagat, a landed farmer owning land worth crores, was a resident of Modinagar in rural Ghaziabad. He was allegedly beaten to death by Upendra, a contract killer hired for the job. He was engaged by a friend of Sanjay Bhagat, the victim’s son.
Sanjay and his elder brother were locked in a property dispute with their father. Nagender had lodged an FIR and had claimed that his two sons were cheating him. However, he reached a compromise with his eldest son the next day. Annoyed with his father’s decision, Sanjay hired two criminals to kill his father by paying them Rs 1 lakh. To mislead the police, Sanjay later lodged an FIR about the murder of his father.
9. Peeved over being denied a share in family property, a 42-year-old man allegedly had his father killed by a contract killer.
On interrogation, the accused disclosed that he had sour relations with his father over the property in the village and three shops on Masoodpur Road which the victim had let out on hire. His father was having possession of all the property and was getting rents. Milan (son) met Deepak and offered him one shop of Masoodpur, if he killed his father. Deepak agreed to the proposal of Milan and stayed at his house to execute the plan to eliminate his father.
The Way Forward
Though above instances are perhaps cases of homicide or murder, yet the fact remains that each such instance is preceded by inflicting abuse on elderlies. In all probability only when the elderly refused to succumb to pressures of elder abuse that the killer committed the heinous crime of snuffing out life.
Given the situation, the only way forward is to create AWARENESS amongst Senior Citizens about their Legal Rights. Parents and Senior Citizens must voice their concerns, seek help and share their travails (if any) with their relatives, neighbours, friends or in absence of any of them with the NGOs who can help them.