Chhattisgarh govt launches ‘Spandan Campaign’ to check suicide and fratricide
The Chhattisgarh government launched the Spandan Campaign on Wednesday to contain incidents of suicide and fratricide involving police personnel, and instructions were issued to senior officers to strictly adhere to guidelines in this regard.
Chhattisgarh’s director general of police DM Awasthi issued an order to all superintendents of police and commandants of armed police forces, saying they should strictly follow instructions to curb suicides and incidents of fratricide.
All superintendents of police will start a parade at police lines in their districts every Friday, keeping in mind social distancing, and grievances of personnel will be redressed after the event. The order made it mandatory for superintendents of police to facilitate counselling and medical treatment for depressed officers and staff by psychiatrists or psychologists in their district headquarters.
Arrangements should be made for yoga classes for police personnel in all district headquarters. A roster should be prepared for this and the cooperation of local yoga teachers should be sought, the order stated.
A total of 50 police personnel, including personnel of paramilitary forces, committed suicide in Chhattisgarh over the past two years. Eighteen of these cases were reported from seven districts of Maoist-affected Bastar division.
Figures released by the Chhattisgarh government in February showed 22 police personnel committed suicide in 2018, while the toll was 26 in 2019. Two personnel have committed suicide till February this year.
In December 2019, six ITBP personnel were killed in an incident of fratricide at a camp in Narayanpur, while two Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) personnel were killed in a similar incident in their camp in Mingahcal village of Bijapur district last June.
To curb such incidents, Awasthi said: “All police officers will visit police lines, police stations and armed forces companies and spend time with jawans to be aware of their problems. All commandants will rest at night with each company once a month. Similarly, superintendents of police have been directed to visit all police stations and police lines and listen to the problems of personnel.”
For armed police forces, Awasthi instructed officers to redress grievances of personnel at regular intervals and to make arrangements for recreational activities.
“Apart from this, arrangements for psychologists, music therapy, yoga education, sports, library etc will be made in the camps adjacent to all the inaccessible areas with immediate effect,” Awasthi said in the order.
The order further stated an analysis of incidents of suicide and fratricide in the armed police forces and police stations in Maoist-affected areas had established that most incidents were caused by depression due to “loneliness and emptiness”.
Therefore, all police stations and camps in Maoist-affected areas will have to arrange mandatory yoga sessions in the morning, and separate sessions on weapons handling and outdoor sports in the evening so that the personnel can join these activities every day, the order said.
Joint meals at which senior and gazetted officers interact with the personnel should be organised once every three months in Maoist-affected and sensitive police stations, the order said.
“A special mobile phone application is being prepared for monitoring problems of police personnel at the headquarters, which will be launched in the next 15 days. Through this app, policemen and their families will be able to communicate their problems to officials and these will be monitored by senior officials,” Awasthi said.
An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Most suicides are caused by depression, difficulty in getting leave sanctioned and homesickness. Chhattisgarh Police records broadly categorise 50% of suicides as having been caused by personal and, or, family reasons, 11% on account of illness, 8% by work-related reasons, and 13% for other reasons. The remaining 18% continue to be under investigation.”