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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Odds against him, rape accused needed counselling: Psychiatrists

Sidhartha Roy, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 12, 2013
First Published: 00:44 IST(12/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:46 IST(12/3/2013)

The odds were stacked heavily against him - in the form of hard evidence and sharp attention of the whole nation. The Tihar Jail authorities, however, didn’t seem it necessary to provide Ram Singh any psychological counselling.

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“Though we get many inmates from Tihar, Singh was never referred to us,” said Dr Nimesh Desai, director, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS). “Referring inmates to us the prerogative of the jail authorities.”

“One possible reason for suicide can be facing certain death. It is common among death row cases and though it wasn’t the case with Singh legally, it could be the seeming inevitability of the outcome because of the attention,” Desai said.

Named ‘mental’ by his neighbours, Singh was said to be a quarrelsome alcoholic and bully. During police questioning, Singh is said to have maintained a stony countenance while his co-accused repeatedly broke down. What could have made a person with such a tough exterior commit suicide?

“The way one projects oneself may not be the way the person actually is. May be there was a cry for help that others did not observe,” said Dr Rajesh Sagar, additional professor at psychiatry department of AIIMS. “If a person masks feelings of depression and the problem is never addressed, it resides inside them and builds up, leading to such an act,” he said.

“While socially, it may be seen shocking and a lapse, it is not surprising scientifically,” Desai said.

“Hardcore criminals want to be their own master and control their own lives and that of everyone around them. Faced with a situation like this, they want to escape everything negative and punishment,” said Dr Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, VIMHANS. “Such people hate any feeling of weakness or helplessness. To feel powerful, they may try to kill themselves before anyone else can sentence them.”

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