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Home > News > PTI

Why suicides are on the rise in Kashmir

M I Jehangir in Srinagar | June 05, 2007 09:58 IST

Hit by militancy for nearly two decades, Kashmir valley has witnessed a sharp rise in suicide cases over the past two years owing to varied reasons ranging from unemployment to marital discord.

While 61 persons committed suicide in the 12 months of 2006, the figure has shot up dramatically this year and stands at 42 for the first five months of the current year, police sources said.

"A person commits suicide when he or she reaches the extreme condition of hopelessness. This situation is generally created when a society hankers after materialistic needs," Dr Hameedullah Shah, medical superintendent of the only Government-run psychiatric hospital of the valley, said.   

Shah said the society in Kashmir is today faced with many issues which strengthened the tendency of suicide among the residents of the valley.

Asked if the nearly two-decade turmoil had any role to play in the rising number of suicides, Shah said an environment which is not congenial for proper physical and psychological growth leads to decrease in the levels of tolerance among human beings.

"Violence all around you and that too for a sustained period of 17 years is in no way conducive to good physical and psychological growth," he said.

Shah said violence may not be directly responsible for suicides in Kashmir but it does create a situation whereby a person might contemplate or attempt to end his or her life.

The other factors responsible for most of the suicides in the valley are failed love affairs, failure of students to meet the expectation of their parents and marital discord, he said.

Most of those who have committed suicides over the past 18 months are women and men in their mid-20s.

Out of the 61 cases of suicide registered by police last year, 43 were young and middle-aged women while out of 42 cases this year, 25 belong to this category.

"Women are far more sensitive and emotionally weaker than men. They have lesser tolerance levels than men, which explains why a higher number of persons who commit suicide belong to the fairer sex," Rabia Rashid, a psychologist, said.

She said most of the women, who committed suicide, were generally fed up with marital discord in their lives.    

"There might be some young girls also who committed suicide due to failed love affair. There is need for a support system to check the trend of rising suicides," Rashid said.

Shah said ready availability of pesticides and other drugs was also a factor in high incidence of suicides.

"Sometimes drug abuse, like anti-depressants, can also lead to death. In such cases, one cannot be sure whether the death was accidental or intentional," he added.

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