Senior citizens in Darbhanga are upset with the cells exclusively meant for them in police stations across the district becoming non-functional.
The senior citizens’ cells were set up in most post police stations in March last year following the initiative of then senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vikash Vaibhav. The aim of the units was to make the police more people friendly. However, the cells stopped functioning after Vaibhav was replaced by Garima Malik as the SSP.
A member of the cell at Laheria Sarai police station, Dr A. Haque, told The Telegraph: “The forum worked efficiently in its early days, but it became dysfunctional soon after the then SSP left the district. Though a new officer came in, the unit never functioned like it used to do.”
“Since the station house officer of the police station was the secretary of the cell, he was supposed to call a meeting each month to know our grievances. But we are not informed about the meetings any longer,” he added.
Several members of the cell claimed that the cell was successful in many ways. “The forum was playing a pivotal role in maintaining law and order. It also used to help the police solve a number of crimes. We were enthusiastic in attending the meetings of the forum. But these meetings are no more held,” he added.
Another member of the forum, Uma Devi, said, “we wanted to share our views with the police on domestic violence cases. But we were not called for the meetings ever since Vaivhab left.”
“Security is a major concern for the senior citizens and women in the district. With the cells becoming non-functional, the senior citizens and the women feel less confident,” retired engineer and a member of the cell Sushil Kumar Sinha said.
Sources in the police department said it was the SSP’s responsibility to keep the cell functional.
Senior superintendent of police Garima Malik said: “Whenever a new police officer takes charge of a new district, he or she takes new initiative to make the administration more functional. I was not apprised of initiatives such as the senior citizen cell set up under the police station.”
She added: “I will try to make the cell functional by next week. No one had informed me about the initiative. Had I known about the forum and that it was not functioning, I would have taken the measures to revive it much earlier.”