The suicide of a constable at Jabalpur earlier this month has again brought to the fore the fatalistic tendency among the police force, especially in the lower rung, into sharp focus.
When SS Yadav, a constable deployed at the DIG’s residence shot himself to death with his own service rifle earlier this month at Jabalpur, it was not a simple incident of a policeman committing suicide but the grave tendency prevalent amongst state policemen.
In recent months more similar incidents have been reported from various places of the state. Another policeman Dwarka Prasad had killed himself in Balaghat nearly two months ago.
Besides, a woman police personnel, Vandana, 40, had hanged herself to death in Indore a couple of months back. Both Parasad and Vandana were apparently unhappy with their postings and the conditions they were working in.
Insiders say that long working hours, denial of leave and lack of job satisfaction apart from poor working conditions and non-availability of housing facility are driving the lower rung police personnel to end their lives.
According to figures the policemen of state accounted for more than 10 per cent of the total incidents of suicides by policemen all over the country in the last year even as the strength of MP police is just 5 per cent of the strength of the police of all the states. As many as 17 policemen (most of them constables), ended their lives in state in 2005.
“The superiors don’t listen to us and if there is any mistake the constable is made the scapegoat”, says a constable posted in a police station in New Bhopal on conditions of anonymity.
“The salary of a constable is Rs 5,000 and he gets no petrol allowance so it is very difficult to make both ends meet”, he adds.
“Most of us are well-educated but are often mistreated in the department and the sword of departmental inquiry or suspensions hangs on our head even on flimsy grounds apart from mistreatment and menial jobs at officials’ residences”, he further says.
Many of the constables are unable to rent accommodation and live away from their families, which also is frustrating. DGP Swaraj Puri says that the police department is sensitive to the problem of suicides. “We are aware of it and trying to redress the issue”, he said.
Puri said that lack of job satisfaction and frustrations are prevalent in all spheres of life. But an effort is being made to check the growing tendency to end lives.
The data on suicides among policemen in various states suggest that MP is far ahead of many states of comparative area and strength of police.
Punjab and Maharastra registered the highest number of such deaths with 26 policemen each ending their lives last year in these two states followed by Tamil Nadu (24) and Madhya Pradesh (17).