LOCKDOWN: SUICIDE CASES GO UP BY 60% IN HP
DHARAMSHALA/SHIMLA: A 36-yearold debt-ridden shopkeeper committed suicide by hanging himself in Kullu district on Thursday. He had incurred losses as his cloth shop in Bhuntar had been closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown. It is learnt that he was unable to repay the loan taken from banks and individuals, which led him to take the extreme step.
On Friday, a school superintendent committed suicide at his workplace in Shimla. Though the reason behind his ending his life is still being ascertained, depression during the lockdown is emerging as a concern.
In April and May this year, 122 people have committed suicide in Himachal Pradesh due to various reasons, according to police records. This is a spike of 60% in the monthly average.
A total of 115 suicide cases were reported in the hill state from January 1 to March 31 before coronavirus pandemic struck. This year’s total tally of suicides till May 31 was 237.
Data shows that on an average 38 people committed suicide every month during the first quarter. However, the average saw a jump of 61 suicides a month in April and May.
Police sources said most of the victims were youngsters. Some had lost their jobs or businesses or were in emotional distress.
MORE CASES IN MAY THAN IN APRIL
With 81 cases, suicide incidents were almost double in May compared to 41 in April when the lockdown was harsher. Seventyfive of the victims were male and 41 female. Mandi district recorded a maximum 23 cases, followed by 21 in Kangra; Una 18; Sirmaur 14; Shimla 13; Solan 10; six each in Bilaspur and Kullu; Hamirpur five; three each in Chamba and Kinnaur. No suicide was reported in LahaulSpiti district.
‘SHRINKING SOCIAL CIRCLE AMONG CAUSES’
Assistant director, Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL), Dharamshala, Dr Surender Kumar Pal said the peculiar situation of the lockdown may have weighed heavy on the psychology of people.
The fear of coronavirus and stress due to job and business losses may be the reason behind the increased suicide cases, he says. “The shrinking social circle due to distancing guidelines and increased domestic conflicts are other reasons,” said Dr Pal.
‘GOVT TO FIND REASON’
When asked, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said that it was hard to ascertain if the suicides were the result of lockdown woes. “Still, the government will ascertain the reasons in these cases,” he said.
The government has launched schemes to provide employment to those who returned to the state due to job loss amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
JAI RAM THAKUR, chief minister