Another CRPF trooper dies by suicide in Sgr; officials say “COVID-19 leading to depression”

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A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper died by committing suicide in Rambagh area of Srinagar. The trooper had shot himself with his service rifle, reported a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

A CRPF spokesman in Srinagar, Pankaj Singh, told the news agency that a CRPF man posted at Group Centre Rambagh identified as Pintoo Mondal of West Bengal, shot himself dead. “An inquiry has been ordered as to what forced him to take this extreme step,” Mr. Singh said.

An unnamed senior CRPF official said that there were multiple reasons why CRPF troopers were taking extreme steps and one of them is “depression” caused by the COVID-19 and remaining far from their families. “COVID-19 has caused a huge level of depression among CRPF ranks as they are following social distancing norms within their units strictly,” he said. “Secondly, they are not able to avail leave and meet their family members since March this year due to the pandemic. So there is an increased level of pressure which has led to the depression among CRPF men deployed in the Valley.”

Today’s incident is the second such incident among the CRPF ranks in the past eight days in Kashmir.

On 19 July, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel committed suicide by shooting himself dead with his service riffle at his unit in Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar.

He was posted with the 29 battalion F-Coy at Pathan Chowk area of Srinagar and was identified as Biswajit Dutta. He had died on the spot. An inquiry was ordered to find out the reason that led him to take this extreme step.

Pantha Chowk incident had come just three days after a CRPF man posted at a hotel in Dalgate area of Srinagar accidentally shot himself with his service rifle. He was critically injured and is battling for life at Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar.

On 6 July, two Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) men were killed in a fratricidal incident in a court complex in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. The duo had resorted to an argument before shooting themselves dead with their services riffles.

Earlier on 12 May, two CRPF personnel committed suicide by shooting themselves with their service rifles in two separate incidents at south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

On the same day, a CRPF Assistant Sub-Inspector, Bengali Babu, committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle at his 49th battalion camp in Srinagar. Furthermore, on 21 March, a CRPF man posted outside Civil Secretariat Srinagar, had committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle.

A suicide note of one of the CRPF men who shot himself dead read: “I am afraid, I may be Corona positive…. Better to die.”

A senior CRPF official told KNO that every incident is followed by an internal inquiry but one of the main reasons why “boys are taking extreme step” is that they are not able to go on leave and meet their families. “Back home, their families are worried too, which increases mental pressure for the boys on duty in Kashmir, which is a challenging place,” he said. “Even though, regular counseling sessions are being given to the CRPF men in the morning and evening, still the level of pressure on their minds remains due to coronavirus outbreak.” (KNO)

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