Twenty personnel of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) including one female officer committed suicide while on duty in 2017.
The situation was no different in 2016 when 18 males and 2 females of the armed force ended their lives when they were posted at different stations.
While CISF admits that stress is one of the main factors for taking the extreme step, it seems to have no solutions to the problem.
We have been providing security across the nation and accordingly transferring personnel by following guidelines. There are some complaints about postings away from home but it is not intentional. Every life is important to us and cannot be a justification despite governing such a large force in the country, said Alok Kumar Pateria, officiating director general of CISF.
The 1.5-lakh strong paramilitary force is responsible for providing security in airports, seaports, nuclear establishments and important monuments.
Internal investigations showed that a majority of suicides were a result of postings away from the home state, leading to stress and depression.
CISF constable Suresh Gaekwad (30), a native of Maharastra, was deployed at the Bengaluru airport in January 2016. He shot himself using INSAS rifle after getting a divorce from his wife.
In January 2017, constable Balveer Singh from Aligarh UP gunned down four of his seniors in indiscriminate firing when he was refused leave and then committed suicide.
Pateria did not hesitate from admitting that stress was a major factor, but clarified that this stress was not due to any kind of impartiality in transfers and postings of officials and jawans.
We have a special operating software that alerts the headquarters about the completion of an individuals tenure at a particular station. Following this, we transfer them to vacant posts available at different stations, Pateria said.
He emphasised on better coordination between unit commanders and personnel.
The commanders have been instructed to reduce communication gap with the personnel. Besides, several cases were reported about personnel being transferred from native states.
We have initiated stress management courses in the force to provide relief to our officers and jawans. Regular yoga classes are also being organised and we are counselling them about the challenges and how to deal with them, Pateria said.