The defence authorities are again looking at the problem of soldier stress, an issue triggered by three suicides by army personnel in Jammu in the past 10 days.
The army is the worst-affected entity in this matter among the defence forces. Soldiers killing each other and desertions are some other symptoms of stress.
General Officer Commanding in Chief (Western Command) T.K. Sapru told Hindustan Times: “The army has trained junior commissioned officers to prepare soldiers psychologically. There are stress management classes, sainik sammelans (assemblies of soldiers) are held, and there is a feedback system to know about their problems.”
Sapru said: “Games are another stress-buster. But sometimes regiments are not able to follow this schedule.”
The Ministry of Defence has told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, which looks at stress management in the armed forces, that sustained low-intensity conflict is a factor in suicides.
The Standing Committee also recommended abolishing the post of sahayak (batman), who performs menial jobs.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee in a report has said that the Ministry of Defence has failed to identify the reasons for soldiers dying in this manner.
According to the Ministry of Defence, 124 soldiers committed suicide last year. There were three instances of soldiers getting killed by colleagues.
Till July 13 this year, 41 suicides were reported and there was one case of a soldier killing another.