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Suicidal tendencies continue in CRPF ranks: Officer shoots himself in Sgr, critical | KNO

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Srinagar, Aug 12 (KNO): A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer was critically injured this on Wednesday morning after he shot himself with his service rifle in Shergari area of Srinagar, officials said. They said a CRPF inspector identified as M Damodar from 141 battalion, who was posted at Shergadi area of Srinagar fired at himself with his service rifle. “He was found in a pool of blood by his colleagues who rushed him to the hospital where his condition is stated as critical,” the official said. CRPF spokesman in Srinagar, Pankaj Singh said that CRPF inspector M Damodar shot at himself and was injured. “He is being treated. Investigations have been ordered to find out what prompted him to take extreme steps,” Singh told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Pertinently, since the outbreak of COVID-19, there is a spurt in the suicidal tendencies among the CRPF men posted in Kashmir due to many reasons, and one of the major reasons that forces them to shoot themselves is that they haven’t been able to avail leave since over five months now. According to CRPF officials, preliminary inquiry into the previous incident has found that “highest level of depression caused by the deadly pandemic is forcing the troopers to take extreme step.” Today’s incident comes just after a fortnight of previous incident that took place on July 26 when a CRPF man posted in Srinagar shot himself dead. A senior CRPF official said that there were many reasons why CRPF men were taking extreme steps and one of them is mental stress caused by the COVID-19 which has not allowed them to avail leave to meet 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. Secondly, they are not able to avail leave and meet their family members since March this year due to the pandemic,” he said, wishing not to be named. “So there is an increased level of pressure which has led to the depression among CRPF men deployed in the Valley.” Earlier, on July 19, a 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 riffle. He was critically injured and is battling for life at Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar. On July 6, 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 May 12, 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 March 21, a CRPF man posted outside Civil Secretariat Srinagar, had committed suicide by shooting himself with his service riffle. The rise in suicide cases among CRPF men has, however been directly linked with the prevailing pandemic as it is evident by the suicide notes left by a couple of CRPF men who took extreme step. 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 said 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. 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,” he said—(KNO)

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