Are Senior Citizens Safe in Bhubaneswar?


By Chinmayee Dash: The shocking attack on the senior citizen couple of Acharya Vihar raises questions on the efficacy of police in Bhubaneswar. Living alone in old age in the state capital is now a very risky. The possibility of snatching, theft and murder is frequent if no children will be living with their parents during old age.

The recent incident in Acharya Vihar created a panic among the residents in the area. The question is what the Senior Citizen Security Cell is doing, whose role is to provide certain security to the elderly people of the city.

Police were still looking for the clues of the incident in which a 72-year-old woman was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants and her husband sustained head injuries and now is in coma.

The incident occurred at L3-134 in Acharya Vihar on Thursday night. The couple, who was staying alone in the three-storey building, was attacked with weapons and cable wires found on the site.

The building owned by a retired engineer Kunja Bihari Panigrahi and his wife Jyotshna Devi, also houses more than 90 students on rent. However, not a single student could say anything about the incident what had exactly happened on that day. Police believed that the incident occurred between 11 pm and 5 am.

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The couple was found lying in pool of blood and their maid discovered them in the morning. While Mrs Panigrahi was strangulated with a cable, her husband had suffered head injuries. He had been probably hit with a heavy object.

The couple has seven children – three sons and four daughters. All their kids are well settled in Canada, Ukarine, Dubai and Bhubaneswar.

The incident reminds us the murders of Doctor Brahmananda Panda (61) and Pushpalata Jena (62) in 2010 and 2011, which had created ripple in the city. The question is: how far safe our senior citizens in the city? They cannot trust the Senior Citizen Security Cell as the security body has failed to provide security to the elderly people in the city.

Even police are hardly seen patrolling in the major residential area like Acharya Vihar where most of the dignified and retired officials are living. The government had opened the SCSCs in 10 police stations, five each in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack a few years ago with an aim to provide the security to the senior citizens, especially the lone couples.

However, many cases have been reported in the recent years in various areas of the city even though the cells already existed in Chandrasekharpur, Kharavela Nagar, Nayapally, Capital and Saheed Nagar, Badagada, Airfield and Khandagiri police stations.

Amidst growing crime in the city, Police department has failed to provide security to common people and the result is before everyone that the Panigrahi couple became the victim. Now Police will see who will be the next target or take stern actions to control crime?

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