MADURAI:M Chinnamma (65), who was abandoned by her family, was finally rescued on Sunday by an NGO — a week after she had been found languishing on the streets of DRO Colony Main Road, Madurai. Local residents said that despite repeatedly contacting the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Madurai, which was supposed to rescue destitute elders in the city, IRCS had failed to respond and provide the destitute woman some shelter and care.
The woman who identified herself as M Chinnamma, wife of Malaisamy, was abandoned on Lakshman Street, DRO Colony Main Road about a week ago by her family.
Since she could only walk a few steps, she was found sitting under a scorching sun for hours and was reportedly taking shelter on the steps of nearby shops at night.
A Sivakumar, a local tea vendor, said that despite repeated attempts to know her identity, she could not give a proper answer except repeating her name.
“Though we attempted to talk to her at regular intervals to get her family details, she didn’t respond. She was depressed and often talked to herself,” he said.
Sivakumar added that local residents helped her by giving her food, water and money.
“She was okay for a couple of days but later began to urinate on the pavement since she was unable to move. It led to a strong stench in the area,” he said.
M Rajkumar, another resident added that despite repeated complaints to the IRCS, there was no response. “Instead IRCS asked us to register a case with the local police and then contact them,” he said.
“Even after we pointed out to IRCS that the Collector had given the organisation full responsibility to rescue destitute elders, they refused to take action,” said a social worker.
Finally, social activists contacted an NGO, Hands of Compassion, which provided free accommodation to abandoned people. The NGO promised to help them.
After getting permission from the K Pudhur police station, the NGO’s representative G Edison took the elderly woman and handed her over to Karunai Illam, a home for elders, on Sunday.
The social activist was unhappy with the Madurai IRCS’s indifference. It had on an earlier occasion refused to rescue an elderly man near Kalavasal last month. Only after Express highlighted the issue, they rescued him after the intervention of the district collector, L Subramanian.