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Number of Suicides of CAPF personnel down 6 times in five years

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Data from the NCRB’s ADSI report of 2018 indicates that the suicides of Central Armed Police Forces Personnel have come down by 6 times in the 5-year period between 2014 & 2018.

The seven security forces in India that work under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs are together called the Central Armed Police Forces, abbreviated as CAPF. These are the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Assam Rifles (AR) and National Security Guard (NSG). The CAPF personnel’s duty ranges from smooth conduct of elections, curbing of illegal activities, and maintaining internal security to guarding the country’s border.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) provides data on the accidental deaths & suicides of CAPF. Here is an analysis of these deaths for the years 2014 to 2018.

NCRB started collecting this data from 2014

Starting 2014, the National Crime Records Bureau began recording the number of deaths of CAPF personnel and reasons behind the same, in their annual Accidental Deaths and Suicides India report. According to the latest 2018 report, as on 1 January 2018, CAPF had a total strength of 9,29,289 personnel.

Almost 2300 CAPF personnel lost their lives in 5 years, about 65% in 2014 alone 

Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 2,299 CAPF personnel lost their lives in accidents and suicides. A total of 1902 died in accidents while 397 committed suicides due to various reasons.

The largest number of deaths were reported in 2014 when there were 1232 accidental deaths and 175 suicides. In other words, an average of 3 accidental deaths of CAPF personnel was reported each day in 2014. In fact, 65% of the accidental deaths of CAPF personnel reported between 2014 and 2018 were reported in 2014 alone. In the case of suicides, 2014 alone accounted for 44% of the total number of suicides of CAPF personnel as reported by NCRB. The specific reasons for such a large number of deaths in 2014 are not known.

In 2018, 104 accidental deaths were reported in addition to 28 suicides. This is the lowest in the five years- from when the NCRB started collecting data of CAPF personnel. The number of suicides has reduced by more than 6 times in the five years.

Accidents other than road & railway accidents account for 44% of accidental deaths

NCRB’s report provides data along with the cause of accident and suicide. The cause of accidents as per the report are fratricide (the act of killing one’s brother or sister), road accidents or railway accidents, other accidents (such as air crash, ships accident, building collapse, drowning, electrocution, accidental explosion), and natural calamities. Those killed in encounters, operations or while in action have also been included. In 2014, these ‘other accidents’ were recorded as ‘unnatural’.

Data indicates that the number of deaths in the category of ‘other accidents’ account for 44% of the deaths between 2014 & 2018.  Road and railway accidents contribute to 30% of the deaths. In 2014, the maximum number of deaths occurred due to ‘other accidents’ or ‘unnatural’ reasons. A total of 480 personnel were killed in Uttar Pradesh in 2014 in ‘unnatural’ events. Further, 116 personnel in Madhya Pradesh and 111 personnel in Telangana lost their lives in road and railway accidents in the same year.

Data for 2018 shows that 33 of the total 104 were killed while in action/operation. This amounts to almost one-third of the accidental deaths in 2018.

Zero deaths in UP since 2016 while all deaths reported in Telangana were in 2014

Considering the total number of accidental deaths of CAPF personnel between 2014 and 2018, Uttar Pradesh accounts for the largest number of deaths. However, 630 of the 633 deaths reported were in 2014 and 3 were in 2015. Not a single accidental death of CAPF personnel has been reported in Uttar Pradesh from 2016 to 2018.

Similarly, in Telangana, where the second-highest number of deaths was reported, all the 194 deaths had taken place in 2014. 116 out of 122 deaths reported in Madhya Pradesh, was also in 2014.

However, in the case of Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir, annually an average of 36 and 30 CAPF have lost their lives, respectively

Apart from the five states mentioned, Jharkhand also has reported more than 100 deaths during this 5-year period. These six states alone account for almost 73% of the deaths of CAPF personnel between 2014 & 2018.  

In 2018, deaths were reported from 13 states, maximum from Jammu & Kashmir (35 out of 104), followed by Chhattisgarh (27 out of 104).

What are the reasons for the Suicides of CAPF personnel?

The CAPF personnel take their own lives for a variety of reasons like stress or other mental conditions. These could be because of occupational reasons or other social, financial or health reasons. The NCRB presents data of CAPF suicides in different categories such as service-related issues (physical fatigue, mental depression, promotion or leave related), financial problems, marriage related issues, property disputes, fall in social reputation, and drug abuse and alcohol addiction.    

Family-related reasons behind suicides of 29% CAPF personnel

Family reasons account for almost 29% of the suicides in these 5 years. Marriage related issues make up 17% of the suicides reported during this period. Marriage related issues have been further categorised into dowry-related, non-settlement, extramarital affair, divorce and others. A total of 15 female CAPF personnel committed suicide (11 in 2015 & 4 in 2018) in Haryana alone for dowry related issues.   

Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of suicides between 2014 and 2018

Analysis of the state-wise number of suicides over the five-year period between 2014 & 2018 reveals that the maximum number of cases were reported in Madhya Pradesh (84 out of 397).

80 out of 84 suicides in Madhya Pradesh and 35 out of 37 in Telangana were reported in 2014 alone. All the 16 suicides in Bihar were reported in 2014 and the 11 suicides in Jharkhand were reported in 2016. In 2018, 5 suicides in Haryana and 3 each from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam were reported.

What is the Government doing?

Multiple studies have indicated that the continuous deployment of CAPF personnel in ‘Sub-Conventional Warfare’ operations is causing stress resulting in increasing number of deaths due to suicides, incidents of fratricides/fragging, sickness and accidents. The studies have also indicated various organizational, socio-psychological, economic & environmental factors leading to these deaths & suicides.

The government had stated in the Lok Sabha in 2018 that it has taken various steps to ensure high morale of CAPF personnel. Additional allowances and incentives for those deployed in ‘Left-Wing Extremism’ areas, improved medical facilities, timely granting of leave, prompt grievance redressal among many other initiatives listed by the government. Stress management and mental health monitoring have also been looked into by the government. It is also reported that the government has framed guidelines to tackle suicides among the CAPF personnel.

Featured Image: CAPF featured image

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