Editorial with Sujit Nair: Why are CRPF jawans committing suicide?

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In this episode of editorial, Mr. Sujit Nair discusses about the 10 suicides committed in the last 23 days by the CRPF jawans. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is the world’s largest central armed force, has reported 10 suicides among its jawans in the past 23 days in various states. This has led to a decision at the higher levels of the organization that the supervising officers in cases of such deaths will face consequences in their annual performance evaluations. Suicides within the CRPF have been a concerning issue for several years, with 194 recorded cases between 2018 and 2022. These recent suicides have occurred in different units of the CRPF, including its specialized wing, the anti-Naxal unit CoBRA, and Jammu and Kashmir units, in locations such as Pulwama, Srinagar, Assam, Odisha, and Jharkhand. Among the victims is an inspector-level official from the elite CoBRA force. This issue has been extensively discussed at all levels within the CRPF, and even Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed his concerns during a recent meeting. To address the increasing suicide rate among jawans, supervising officers will now bear more responsibility in preventing such incidents. According to a senior CRPF official, any such incident will be noted in the supervising officer’s annual performance report, which could negatively impact their chances of promotion. The statistics are alarming. From 2018 to 2021, there was a notable increase in suicides among CRPF jawans, with 36 cases in 2018, 40 in 2019, 54 in 2020, and 57 in 2021. Although there was a slight decrease in 2022, with 43 suicides, this year has seen 10 jawan suicides between August 12 and September 4. Notably, 30% of the 34 suicides in the CRPF this year have occurred in the last 10 days. Senior officials attribute many of these suicides to personal issues like family disputes, marital problems, illnesses, and a few cases related to professional reasons. Given the challenging and high-stress nature of CRPF duties, such as anti-militancy operations, anti-Naxal operations, election duties, and disaster relief, efforts are being made to create a conducive work environment and provide avenues for grievance redressal to minimize suicides within the force.

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