| Susmita’s body being taken to the cremation ground in Bhopal. (AP)
New Delhi, June 17: Susmita Chakraborthy’s suicide in Udhampur on Thursday has reopened a debate on whether the army’s procedures on counselling troubled souls in its service were actually addressing the problems.
Army headquarters today came out with a detailed account of the suicide by another officer, Captain Sumeet Kohli, on April 30 this year.
The family of Kohli, who was decorated for bravery in counter-insurgency operations, had suspected foul play.
The army showed the post-mortem report and photographs and presented its case after its court of inquiry submitted its report.
The court of inquiry concluded that Kohli probably took his life because he was unable to reconcile relationships.
A similar court of inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances of Susmita’s suicide.
The presentation of the Kohli case by army headquarters makes two points:
Kohli’s suicide was not a result of professional issues in the service
The suicide by Susmita falls into a pattern that points to a deeper malaise
Major General R.S. Sujlana of army headquarters said a number of cases of soldier suicides occur “just after they return from leave, which indicates that there are probably more problems they face on the home front such as marital discord”.
On the case of Kohli, Sujlana said: “This is a physical casualty not attributable to army service.”
The court of inquiry had found that Kohli was engaged for 10 months to a girl who he eventually did not marry. Subsequently, he was said to have had differences with Deepika, his wife.
Captain Kohli was awarded a Shaurya Chakra for gallantry while he was deployed with the Rashtriya Rifles.
Sujlana said that contrary to fictitious claims, it was not true that he had disputes with colleagues on an operation. Among Kohli’s belongings after his death, the army found a medicine that is usually prescribed by a psychiatrist.
“He was a reserved person and a good officer who did not talk much despite being asked,” Sujlana said.
Kohli shot himself with his service AK rifle which he placed under his chin and pulled the trigger at 5.50 in the afternoon of April 30 in his quarters in the 18 Rashtriya Rifles camp in Kuligao near Kupwara.