A Lieutenant Colonel of the Army committed suicide by shooting himself with his service weapon at Mahore in Udhampur, 180 km north of Jammu,Friday.
This is a first incident of its kind in which an army officer of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in Jammu and Kashmir has committed a suicide.
Though the suicide cases of the Army personnel and the paramilitary forces have been reported from time to time in the 17-years of militancy in the strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir. PRO Defence Jammu, Lt Col SD Goswami identified the deceased Army officer as Lt Col Pankaj Jha.
Goswami said that the officer who belonged to 15 Sector Rashtriya Riffles (RR) shot himself at his official residence at Mahore this afternoon around 1400 hours.
The PRO informed that the body of the deceased Army officer has been sent to the hospital for a postmortem report. The reason behind the suicide has not yet been traced.
A similar incident of suicide by a female 25-year-old Army Lieutenant Sushmita Chakraborthy of Bhopal occurred on June 16, 2006 when she shot herself at Udhampur, where she was posted in officer's mess of the 5071 Army Service Corps (ASC).
A postgraduate in Chemistry, Sushmita was reportedly not happy with her job.
Lower rank Army personnel and security forces mostly commit suicide after denial of leave applications. However, in case of the high rung officers the reasons were not found but reports suggest were not satisfied with their jobs.
The stress among the security personnel at times also became security problem at VIP places like on April 02, 2006. After apparently being denied leave, a CRPF soldier identified as Anand Kumar Singh opened indiscriminate fire on his colleagues at the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's official residence at Jammu, killing three. The dead included company commander and two head constables of CRPF. The accused soldier was later arrested.
Later on April 20, 2006, an Inspector, Chander Paul (40) of Bulandshaher in Uttar Pradesh of the Border Security Force (BSF) committed suicide by hanging himself in his room inside a training centre at Srinagar.
On January 25, 2006, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) constable Avtar Chand gunned down four of his colleagues injuring one critically inside a heavily guarded CRPF (96 Battalion) camp housed in Firdous Cinema in downtown Srinagar. After entering into a verbal brawl with one of his colleagues, Avtar reportedly went berserk and opened fire. He was later overpowered and arrested.
As stress in uniform has become an official truth, various security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir have now engaged counsellors and psychologists as stress buster for their officers and security personnel. Besides the use of meditation, body exercises and yoga are also experimented.
Recently in the month of November, Army in the state have been using Yoga tips of the 'Yog Guru Baba Ram Dev'. But the incidents of suicides are continuing unabated.