Over half of Delhi’s elderly harassed over property: survey

March 24th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) More than 50 percent of the elderly in Delhi are harassed over property issues, mostly by their children, according to a survey conducted by HelpAge India, an NGO working for the aged. Over 41 percent of the city elders who complained of harassment lived in posh localities in south Delhi, it revealed.

Nidhi Raj Kapoor of HelpAge India said the survey, “Delhi Older Persons Property Victimization survey 2007″, found that 52 percent old people in Delhi face harassment for property or know someone who is harassed. Forty nine percent of victims were men and 28 percent were women.

The survey, concluded August last year, saw 1,183 elderly people aged 65-91 being interviewed randomly through a questionnaire in 30 localities of Delhi.

“Although we distributed 5,000 questionnaires, only 1,183 people responded. Of this, 78 percent were males and 21 percent females. The rest were anonymous,” the report said.

“Most of the people were too scared to respond, thinking that their perpetrators would not take it too kindly,” Kapoor told IANS Monday on the sidelines of a media workshop on issues concerning the aged.

According to her, no study was earlier carried out on the subject.

“As far as we know, no such survey on property abuse of the aged has been carried out before, although surveys on emotional and other such forms of abuse have been. But since we kept receiving letters from old people concerning this issue, we decided to carry out this survey,” Kapoor said.

“An interesting aspect of this survey was that five percent of the perpetrators were the spouses of the harassed. In most cases, men complained that their wives supported their children when it came to property disputes, thus adding on to the torture inflicted,” she noted.

The major perpetrators of harassment were, however, the children of those surveyed - according to the survey, a good 49 percent.

“Elders come under tremendous pressure to either sell off their property and shift to a smaller and cheaper accommodation so that the price fetched can be put to their child’s disposal.”

“At times, they are forced to transfer their property in their son’s or daughter’s name and are abused if they don’t pay heed,” she added.

The harassment figures were: central Delhi 20.8 percent, west Delhi 15.27 percent, east Delhi 8.3 percent and north Delhi 5.5 percent.

HelpAge India now plans to conduct a similar survey in Mumbai, Kapoor said.

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