As many as 36 security personnel posted in Chhattisgarh committed suicide in 2017, highest in more than a decade in the state, said a report by the Hindustan Times. This comes from official data which has been accessed by the aforementioned publication. The suicides by state police and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel this year is nearly thrice the earlier highest single year toll of 13, in 2009.’
The data compiled by Chhattisgarh police shows that the number of deaths this year makes up more than 31% of the 115 suicides recorded since 2007 across the 11 districts in the state. These 11 districts are the once worst affected by left-wing extremism. Formal collation of data on suicides among armed forces and state security personnel since the state’s formation in 2000 to 2017 is yet to be done by the state police.
The rise in the number of suicides this year has shaken the senior police and security personnel. It has also led to triggering of talks and moving towards psychological autopsies. Psychological autopsies will help in studying the cause of these suicides and will guide a possible resetting of preventive measures.
The state police personnel posted in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit regions include the special task force and district reserve guard, while the CAPF personnel are from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Border Security Force (BSF).
Reasons for suicide
“Depression owing to tough working condition, difficulty in leaves, homesickness are some common causes of suicides among the security personnel,” said a source who is aware of the reasons for the suicides noted in the records. The reasons can be broadly categorised as personal/family (50%), illness-related (11%), work-related (8%) unknown/under-investigation (18%) and other (13%).
67 out of 115 suicides were in areas that are worst affected by Maoist violence – the seven districts of Bastar division, namely – Kanker, Kondagaon, Jagdalpur, Dantewada, Sukma, Narayanpur and Bijapur. Special Director General (Naxal Operations) said, “This situation is extremely worrying,” according to a report by the Hindustan Times.
DM Awasthi further added, “A superintendent of police-level will be appointed to examine the causes of the suicides. We will focus on the figures of 2015 (6), 2016 (12) and 2017 and will chalk out a plan for preventing these suicides. We will also take the help of psychologists if needed.”
A senior police official from Bastar, who did not wish to be named said, “Suicides within the ranks demoralise security personnel, who are also greatly affected by deaths of colleagues during encounters with Maoists.” Security forces have lost 59 lives so far during encounters with Maoists.
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