Has unrealistic statistics of suicide cases for 2014 led to Bhopal getting dubious tag of Indian city that reported maximum jump in suicide cases in 2015?
It’s the question crisscrossing minds of Madhya Pradesh police officers just a few days after the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) accidental deaths and suicides in India (ADSI) report for 2015 revealed that Bhopal reported maximum 845% jump in suicide cases among 53 cities.
According to NCRB ADSI data, the state capital, which reported just 40 cases of suicide in 2014, witnessed 378 suicide cases in 2015, translating into a steep 845% rise.
The more than eight times rise in suicides in Bhopal was highest among 53 cities of the country (including Jabalpur, Gwalior and Indore), particularly when the percentage variation in suicide cases in the cities in 2015 compared to 2014 was just 0.3%.
As per the report, Bhopal is followed by Faridabad in Haryana with 100% jump in suicide cases in 2015.
Sources in state police associated with the task of compiling and sending crime, accident and suicides related statistics to NCRB annually told HT that abnormal jump in suicide cases in 2015 could be the result of unrealistic data of 40 suicide cases in 2014 in Bhopal.
Importantly, if NCRB data of Bhopal for 2013, 2014 and 2015 is sampled, it reveals that 384 suicide cases were reported in 2013, followed by 40 in 2014 and 378 in 2015.
While number of suicides in the state capital dipped marginally in 2015 compared to 2013, the unrealistic figure of 40 suicides in 2014, translated into 90% dip in compare to 2013 figure. But the same data led to 845% jump in 2015, when actually number of suicides was less than 2013.
When analysed in detail, the 2014 NCRB ADSI report revealed that all 40 suicides in Bhopal were committed by women and they took the extreme step due to marriage related issues and no other reason.
On the contrary, out of the 384 people, who killed selves in Bhopal in 2013, 264 were men and 120 women. The 2015 data, released in last week of December 2016, revealed that out of the 378 suicide victims, 282 were men and 96 women. Causes behind their suicides were multiple and not just marriage related issues as quoted in the 2014 report.
A senior official associated with task to collect crime and suicides data said district police annually send their crime, accident, suicides and other related figures to police headquarters (PHQ) to be used by SCRB and NCRB.
When the data of just 40 suicides cases in 2014 was sent to the PHQ by Bhopal Police, concerned higher ups in Bhopal district police were asked to vet it again, as it appeared “unrealistic” keeping in mind number of suicides in 2013, the official said.
Bhopal district police, however, sent the same figure again to PHQ, saying it was vetted and found to be correct, the official at PHQ told HT on Tuesday. “We had no other option after but sending the same data to NCRB,” the official said.
When contacted in the matter by HT, IG Bhopal Yogesh Choudhary declined comment.
The NCRB in 2015 amended the traffic accident deaths figures for Bhopal in its ADSI-2014 report, after the state government lodged a protest with the union government, saying figures of Bhopal were wrongly quoted in the report.
The report mentioned Bhopal as the city with the third highest number of traffic accident deaths among 53 mega cities in India.
According to amended figures, Bhopal recorded a total of 307 traffic accident deaths in 2014 , giving the city 21st position among 53 cities in traffic accident deaths.
The error occurred because figures from Gwalior, Jabalpur and Indore -- three other mega cities from the state on the NCRB list -- were also added to Bhopal. The NCRB had also amended figures in unnatural death and mass/family suicide category after the state government’s intervention.