A CRPF constable guarding the residence of the panchayat minister was found dead with a bullet wound, inside his barrack in the summer capital, Srinagar, on Friday.
Police said the constable, Rahul Kumar "apparently committed suicide" by his own service rifle at around 5am while on duty in the empty residence of senior NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar at Church-lane. The minister and his family are currently in the winter capital, Jammu, over 300 km away.
"His colleagues in CRPF's 79 battalion say that they heard a faint sound around 5am which they did not take seriously. But when another sentry approached the barrack for change of duty at around 8 am, he found Kumar dead," said a police official.
Kumar, in his late 20s, had recently gone home on leave in Bihar and had returned three days ago. "He was married and had children. Why did he take the extreme step is not yet clear?" the officer said.
This is second case of "suicide" among security forces in Kashmir valley this year. On February 17, a 55-year-old police officer, heading a police station in north Kashmir, died of a bullet injury in head, which officials believed was a case of suicide.
Common during the harsher days of counterinsurgency, fratricides and suicides among the armed forces in the state has been on a decline for the past five years. Statistics indicate that there were 12 cases of suicide among CRPF in 2007, eight in 2008, three in 2009, and four in 2010 across the state.
In case of the army, there were 44 cases of suicide and 10 cases of fratricide in 2005. In 2008, the number reduced to 34 and one. There was no report of fratricide in the year 2009 and 2010. While 2011 witnessed a single incident in which three army personnel were killed in south Kashmir's Tral town.
The decline in the trend came after the union defence ministry in 2007 accepted majority of the recommendations submitted by a special committee led by Dr Manas Kumar Mandal, director, Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR).
The committee had observed that the majority of the root causes that led to the spurt in fratricidal killing in the security forces belong to the discontentment over leave and 'occupational hazards'. Besides continuous vigil, relentless counter-infiltration operations coupled with unresolved domestic problems become the causative factors of stress.