The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is witnessing a rise in the number of suicide incidents since 2020, data accessed by News18 has shown.
According to the data, there have been 101 incidents of suicide within the force from 2020 till September 13, 2021. The number is high given that 116 suicides were recorded in the CRPF in 2017, 2018 and 2019 combined.
Sixty incidents of suicides were reported in the CRPF last year and 41 have already been reported so far this year. In 2019, 42 suicides were reported while 2018 saw 36 such cases.
In the wake of the rising numbers, the CRPF has issued guidelines to all its units. In a letter to all units, the CRPF has also raised concerns over fratricide incidents in the force.
“Batallion commanders should identify the personnel who are under depression due to various personal or professional issues. Once any unusual behaviour is noticed, assessed and confirmed in any individual, an administrative decision needs to be taken regarding re-deployment of such personnel for duty without arms/ammunition,” CRPF said in a letter.
The CRPF in the letter said that personnel affected by alcohol or drug addiction, suffering personality disorders and financial crisis are more likely to be mentally disturbed. “Such personnel should be counselled regarding their issues/problems by battalion commander and company commander,” the CRPF said.
The force headquarters has also asked Director/IG Medical to maintain a record of personnel and officers who visit CRPF and government hospitals with mental health problems. “The system is to be devised to check weapons being kept in barracks/lines even when the individual is not on duty,” the CRPF said.
The Union Home Ministry, too, has voiced concerns over rising suicide cases among central forces, including the CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). In August this year, the ministry informed the Rajya Sabha that nearly 680 personnel died by suicide between 2015 and 2020, more than double the 323 killed in encounters.
This news piece may be triggering. If you or someone you know needs help, call any of these helplines: Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669, Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050, Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090, Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525, Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841, Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830, Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530, Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000, Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata)