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Increasing Suicide and Murder Cases in Nuclear States

28 January, 2015

By Zaheerul Hassan


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Professionalism, faith, discipline, courage, leadership command responsibility, loyalty, decisiveness, comradeships and working under stress and strain are some of the recognized physiognomies of the soldiers and their commanders of professional Armed forces and like other vital institutions. Of course, the manifestation of revealed characteristics transforms into achievements when soldiers produces valuable results under the crises like wars and natural catastrophes. Similarly, the said deduction stands equally good to the employees deputed on vital military and nuclear installations. However, possibility of displaying valorousness can only be possible when dedicated troops with motivation move to the battlefield. But, performance or results could be opposite to it, if the soldiers or responsible people with stress and worries land in arena or engage in sensitive nature of assignments. They may become the victims of depression which can ultimately lead to suicide attempts even in peace time.

In fact, the uncertainty of jobs, fear of intelligence agencies and poor economic conditions are some of the major factors which can cause psychiatric complications in human beings. But if such snags appear in employee of nuclear plants then indisputably one can say that any minor mishaps on the plants can turn into a disaster. For examples, the world major nuclear accidents and maximum theft cases at nuclear plants occurred either due to the poor management, insufficient security, and inadequate safety arrangements or arising of sudden technological problems. Moreover, in all such cases Inquiry Committees have fixed the responsibilities of accidents on the shoulders of the concerned management and poor security and safety measures. Unfortunately, in 1984 accident in Bhopal Union Carbide Pesticide Plant, over 8000 innocent people were killed and more than 5000 suffered from serious injuries, as a result of gas leakage.

On June 13, 2009 the famous nuclear scientist Lokanathan Mahalingam of Kaiga of Atomic Power Station was found dead from Kali River. A channel also added on November 11, 2006, Director of Uttaranchal Space Application Centre, Dr. Anil Kumar Tiwari, was also shot dead by an unidentified person near his residence. Again, on February 28, 2012 an expert committee appointed by the Tamil Nadu government has

submitted its report on the safety aspects of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNNP) to the Chief Minister of the state.

In short, Indian nuclear installations are not practicing the safety methods along with rigid security measures. As a result of financial corruptions, 160 theft cases of uranium radioactive materials have also been reported and registered with the police since 1984. Moreover, the fear of lifting away by RAW and CBI for investigation prevails among the employees is also adding to the stress and strain.

The current research over suicides’ cases reveal that suicide rate among the forces engaged in armed confrontation is increasing all over the world.

India is maintaining one of the of the top militaries of the world, She has 3.8 million troops being the 2nd largest army on earth, 4th largest air force in the world, and 5th Largest Navy in the world, The Indian Armed Forces also have a large Coast Guard but the rank is not known. Ultimately, India’s Militaries strength is 3rd ranking in the world. Astonishingly, the responsibly authorities do not pay heed to resolve the problems of individuals employed on sensitive nature of duties.

According to Times of India report, 597 Indian troops committed suicide during the years 2009 to 2013, this takes the annual tally to 120 soldiers a year in India. Apparently, it is being felt that India is facing serious threat to her existence. Apart from fighting against freedom fighters of Kashmir, Indian army is terribly involved in crushing liberation movements of Naxalites and Sikhs. Naxalites were active across approximately 180 districts in ten states of India. Reportedly, many soldiers are not interested to fight against innocent people but unfortunately they are bound to obey wrong order due to their poor economic background. Therefore, fighting against the will increases stress which ultimately affect their mental health.

In January 2010, Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar an Indian scholar published her article with the title of “Indian research on suicide” in “Journal of Psychiatry”. The journal is the official publication of Indian Psychiatric Society. Lakshmi mentioned that the suicide rate in India is 10.3. But in the last three decades, it has increased by 43%. Majority (71%) of suicides in India are committed by people below the age of 44 years.

According to her, the reasons of committing suicide could be physical and mental illness, disturbed interpersonal relationships and economic difficulties. The vulnerable population was found to be women, students, farmers etc. A social and public health response in addition to a mental health response is crucial to prevent suicidal behaviour in India.

Probably, Dr. Lakshami deliberately had not touched the cases of suicides in the second largest Army of the world. The reasons could be best known to her but defiantly

there is a need to dig out the causes of prevailing unrest among the troops and the individuals employed at nuclear plants.

In November 2014 Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to Lok Sabha, lower house of Parliament disclosed that at least 449 personnel of Indian Armed forces have committed suicide since 2011.

A British newspaper reports that 247 U.S. troops self-murdered themselves in the year 2012 alone, while this year only 222 American troops were killed in the battlefield. Although, western countries including United States are taking serious measures to prevent suicide cases in their forces. but they still failed to fight the actual problem. The major cause of American marines’ suicidal cases is their stretched deployment all over the world. Major suffering have been noticed in Afghanistan based NATO and American troops. According to media reports in 2012, 50 serving or ex-army men self-destructed in UK alone.

Israeli army comprises of a total of 187,000 regular troops and almost whole army is committed in fighting against innocent Palestinians, since decades. As per Israeli newspaper, 10 Jew soldiers committed suicide in 2014, out of which 4 troops remained a part of the fifty-days-long Israeli aggression on Palestine, which started in the month of July last year.

Apart from this, Pakistan Army, engaged in the worst fight against terrorism, and lost over 5000 troops in the war but has remarkably maintained zero-percent suicide rate.

In this regards, ISPR official in a news conference also confirmed that not even a single Jawan of the Pakistan Army has ever committed suicide.

However, international reports and media show concerns over the increase of suicides in armed forces and murders of the scientists in the nuclear plants. Thus, all countries in general and nuclear states in particle should take steps to resolve the confrontations amongst them. The personal problems of staff and security personnel’s employed on sensitive duties and their recruiting and training criteria should be revised.

Moreover, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Iran and Israel should be officially acknowledged as nuclear states by UN. Under this scenario, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be authorized to monitor and inspect the nuclear plants of the said countries. UN should play its role in settling down the Kashmir, Palestine and Maoists disputes, so that chances of war could be reduced. Failing which, can lead to a big global disaster. The writer can be approached through zameer36@gmail.com

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