Chhattisgarh sees most suicides among security forces this year in more than a decade
Suicides by security personnel posted in Maoist-hit areas of Chattisgarh have touched 36 till September 30 this year, the highest in a decade, prompting an official inquiry by the security forces, which are also figuring out possible ways to prevent suicides in their ranks. There were only 12 suicides last year.
The suicides by members of the state police force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel posted in the state is almost three-times the previous high of 13 in 2009. Data is available only since 2007. According to the data, which is complied by the Chattisgarh police department, there have been 115 suicides by security personnel posted in Maoist-hit areas in the state since 2007 (till September 30). This year’s suicides account for almost a third of that.
According to an official posted in the state most suicides are caused by depression, difficulty in getting leave sanctioned, and homesickness. The records broadly categorise 50% of the suicides as having been caused by personal/family reasons, 11% on account of illness, 8% as work-related, and 13% under other reasons. The remaining 18% are under investigation.
The numbers have rattled the security establishment and there has been talk of going in for so-called psychological autopsies, to figure out the reason for the suicides.
DM Awasthi, special director general (Naxal operations), Chhattisgarh, told HT that the rise in suicides is “worrying.”
“A superintendent of police-level officer will be appointed to examine the causes for the suicides. We will focus on the figures of 2015 (6), 2016 (12) and 2017 to chalk out a plan for preventing suicides. We will also take the help of psychologists, if needed,” Awasthi added.
The state police personnel posted in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit regions include the special task force and district reserve guard, while the CAPF personnel are from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Border Security Force (BSF).
“Suicides within the ranks demoralise security personnel, who are also greatly affected by deaths of colleagues during encounters with Maoists,” said a senior police officer posted in Bastar who did not want to be named.
Security forces have killed at least 69 Maoists so far this year, but lost 59 of their own during encounters.