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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

1,532 CAPF jawans committed suicide since 2011, 654 in last five years: Report

'It's a matter of grave concern that the number of jawans who committed suicide over the past few years is higher than the number killed fighting terrorists'

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui New Delhi Published 16.01.24, 05:50 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

A total of 1,532 central armed police forces jawans have committed suicide since 2011, of them 654 doing so in the last five years, a report compiled by the Confederation of Ex-Paramilitary Forces Welfare Associations says.

It says the number of psychiatric patients in the paramilitary forces rose from 3,584 in 2020 to 4,940 in 2022. This apart, 46,960 personnel from the six central armed police forces quit their jobs in the last five years.

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"It's a matter of grave concern that the number of jawans who committed suicide over the past few years is higher than the number killed fighting terrorists," Confederation president Ranbir Singh told The Telegraph.

He demanded that the Centre release a white paper on the reasons for the suicides, fratricide, resignations and voluntary retirements by troopers over the last 15 years, and on the ways of preventing them.

“We have written several letters to the Union home ministry seeking a directive to the forces’ top brass to address the problems faced by our jawans, but the government is yet to take any remedial measures,” Singh said.

He identified stress, domestic discord, financial issues, denial of leave, and long separation from the family as among the reasons for the suicides.

As for “violent behaviour” or fratricide within the forces, some of the reasons are mental illness, alcohol addiction and humiliation by senior officials. The Confederation report does not cite fratricide figures but Singh said they were high.

Singh blamed slow promotions, salary mismatches, work overload, separation from the family and continuous “hard” postings for the rising attrition rates within the paramilitary forces.

Sources in the Union home ministry said the rising instances of suicides and fratricide were a huge concern and the central paramilitary forces had been asked to implement the “buddy” system as a stress buster for the jawans.

“Under the buddy system, a soldier gives company to a fellow trooper and shares his problems. This can help check the suicides,” a ministry official said.

He said the army implemented the buddy system for soldiers deployed in harsh conditions. “Some paramilitary forces, too, had started this but later discontinued it,” the official said, without explaining why.

All the six central paramilitary forces — the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Assam Rifles — are now expected to implement the buddy system.

A CRPF officer blamed the rising suicides on stress and fatigue caused by continuous hard postings without leave.

“Jawans work under extremely harsh conditions but their problems back home become harsher at times. They become more depressed after the denial of leave,” he said.

A BSF officer said: “As part of stress management, the government has been organising counselling and yoga but this has not worked. What we need is to provide better family accommodation and improve the living conditions of the personnel.”

A home ministry survey had earlier blamed the high attrition rates on the lack of job satisfaction and career progression, high levels of salary discrepancy, the absence of a conducive and motivational work environment, work overload, long separation from the family and continuous posting in hard areas.

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