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Asians top UK rail suicides

world Updated: Sep 24, 2007 03:24 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
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Rail suicides — or suicides committed by jumping in front of approaching trains — are rising in Britain, but only along one stretch of railway track, said a report of the First Great Western rail company released on Sunday. One third of all such suicides in England and Wales occur on just this track.

And where does this track lie? In West London, passing through the Indian dominated locality of Southall.

The First Great Western manager's report added that a "disproportionately high number" of the total fatalities in the area were women of Asian origin, 80 per cent of whom were from Punjab.

One such case which shocked the whole country occurred in 2005, when Navjeet Sidhu, 27, jumped before a train, clutching her five-year-old daughter and 23-month old son in her arms. The engine driver tried hard to stop but failed, and all three were mowed down. Six months later Navjeet's mother Satwant Kaur also killed herself at the same spot. The reasons for the suicides are still not clear.

"The high instance of Asian women suicides is linked to abusive practices within Asian families," said Hannana Siddiqui, of the women's group Southall Black Sisters.

Lord Bikhu Parekh who has studied Asian families and their problems told HT that the rise in number of suicides among Indian women showed the lack of any community group monitoring issues and problems specifically affecting such women.