'Nearly 100 soldiers commits suicide in a year'
Nearly 100 Indian army soldiers commit suicide every year, most of them under stress from fighting insurgents.india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 14:19 IST
Nearly 100 Indian army soldiers commit suicide every year, most of them under stress from fighting insurgents in Kashmir and the remote northeast, a newspaper reported Saturday citing India's army chief.
The soldiers have been taking their own lives because of work pressure and stress, despite their training, Gen JJ Singh said during a visit to India's insurgency-wracked portion of Kashmir on Friday.
Singh said nearly 100 suicide cases have been reported in the army every year since 2001.
Earlier this week, Singh ordered an investigation into four recent cases of distraught soldiers posted in Kashmir who fatally shot colleagues, then committed suicide.
Military officials say 17 years of bloody insurgencies in Kashmir, and to a lesser degree in India's remote northeast, are wearing the military down.
India has an estimated 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir, along the frontier with Pakistan and in dangerous, violence-hit towns and villages.
Soldiers operate in an environment where they are not sure about the future, sometimes sparking these kinds of incidents, said Col Hemant Juneja, an army spokesman in Srinagar.
Military experts also say the army is becoming overextended with soldiers having to do long spells in difficult areas. After similar shootings in the early 1990s, the army reformed its rules, easing leave conditions and salary hikes for soldiers serving in difficult areas.