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Never before in recent memory have so many people killed themselves in this city on a single day.
A total of 11 persons committed suicide in separate incidents across Bengaluru on Friday. Four of the dead lived in the same lower income area- Srirampuram.
“One 14-year-old girl killed herself because she did not know English. Can you believe it? All night I kept thinking about that little girl,” said an officer at the Srirampuram police station.
In a similar case, a 15-year-old girl killed herself because her parents couldn't afford to send her to college.
The incidents once again brought focus to the city's dubious distinction as Karnataka's 'suicide capital'. According to statistics compiled by the city police's crime records bureau, 34 persons for every 100,000 residents of the city commit suicide every year. That's nearly 3,500 suicides a year.
Friday's suicides prompted some local TV channels to run special programmes. A Kannada channel tried to suggest that the suicides might have something to do with the fact that Friday was the 13th day of the month, which is considered unlucky by the superstitious.
When HT called a dedicated suicide helpline, which is run in association with the union government's National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), a pre-recorded voice said the helpline functions only between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Most of Friday's suicides were committed late at night.