With suicides and fratricides on the rise, CRPF turns to village-style get-togethers
Express News Service
NEW DELHI: After four CRPF jawans were shot dead and three others injured by a fellow jawan in Chhattisgarh, The New Indian Express accessed records of fratricides and suicides among CRPF personnel and found that the highest number of fratricides have been committed this year. Worryingly, even the number of suicides may be at a new high by the end of this year.
As of November 8, a total of 16 deaths in fratricide incidents in CRPF have been reported in the last four years. Of these, six jawans have died in five shootouts this year alone. The same number of CRPF jawans were injured in such incidents this year.
The numbers of such incidents stood at two and three each respectively in 2018, 2018 and 2020 respectively. In the year 2018, two jawans were killed and another jawan was injured after being shot by a fellow colleague. The following year, five jawans were killed and four suffered injuries in a fratricide. Last year, three jawans died and one other jawan suffered injuries in a shootout.
As of November 8, as many as 48 suicides were reported in the CRPF, including that of a trooper who shot himself with his service rifle at the Lethpora camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The number of suicides among CRPF personnel stood at 29 in 2016, according to data from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which handles the affairs of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). In 2017, 2018 and 2019 and 2020 the number of suicides among Central Reserve Police Force were 38, 38, 43 and 60, respectively.
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With one incident of fratricide and suicide each being reported from CRPF on Monday, the psychological well-being of jawans in the country’s largest paramilitary force has become paramount for senior officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs, after the recent spate of fratricides and suicides among jawans. Officials told The New Indian Express that the CRPF has decided to give a fresh push to informal, open-style discussions called ‘Chaupals’ for jawans to curb such incidents.
The rising number of suicides and fratricides has been a major issue for CRPF which has been taking up the topic in almost all its review meetings for welfare of jawans.
In an official communication sent about , DG CRPF Kuldiep Singh asked the force to hold village-style get-togethers for the jawans.
Officials in the know said they have been directed by DG to hold four such discussions in a week with jawans to curb suicides and fratricide. They added that all officials of the rank of Inspector Generals have been instructed to ensure that Chaupal discussions are held in an informal setting so that CRPF personnel are encouraged to speak about their problems and issues without fear or pressure.
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation – 04424640050 (available 24×7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ helpline – 02225521111, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.)