Combat stress: 60 percent of slain army jawans die in Kashmir from 2003-07

Killings highest in 2007, 131 soldiers die so far

By News Agency of Kashmir

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Srinagar : Fighting militancy from the last more than 17 years in Jammu and Kashmir, suicides and fragging among mentally-fatigued soldiers of paramilitary forces have assumed alarming form in the last few years.

The remedial measures initiated so far have failed to check the trend completely. Currently, a seminar on combat stress and life style diseases is being organised by 166 Military Hospital, Satwari under the aegis of Headquarters 9 Corps in Jammu.

Well informed sources told News Agency of Kashmir that 60 percent of 455 jawans and officers of Indian Army were either killed or shot dead by their colleagues and juniors from 2003 to 2007 in Jammu and Kashmir.

As a matter of great concern the incidents of suicides and fragging are on rise in trouble torn state of Jammu and Kashmir from last five years.

Sources revealed that 93 fratricidal killings and suicides took place in 2003 while 100 such incidents happened in 2004 and 2005 witnessed 77 incidents. If sources are to be believed 131 killing and suicides took place in 2007.

Year 2007 so far has witnessed killings and suicides of 60 personnel, out of which 30 incidents took place in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior officer of army told NAK, on the condition of anonymity.

He, however, said, “Only 0.3 percent of suicides in the Indian Army happen because of operational stress while reason of majority of such incidents is found to be some domestic problem”.

“In 2006 Army recorded 23 cases of fratricidal killings across the nation, out of which 16 cases took place in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Giving current year’s information he said, “Till June 2007 around 15 fratricidal killings have taken place in the strife-torn state.”

He, however, maintained that the soldiers of the Indian Army soldiers have lowest percentage in terms of suicides when compared to other countries.

He said, “French Army records 18 suicides per lakh soldier while US Army records 17 soldiers, UK Army records 14 soldiers and Indian Army records 10.8 soldiers per lakh”.

Sources told NAK that last year union defence ministry in order to check the trend recommended some measures but they have failed to have a positive impact.

Recommendations included increased interactions between officers and jawans, liberal leave, counseling by psychiatrists, rest and recuperation centers and Yoga classes.

Sources attributed several factors responsible for fratricides and suicides but found domestic problem among soldiers to be the main reason.

Facing problem back home soldiers get frustrated when leave is not granted to them, said sources.

Apart from Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir has CRPF, BSF and ITBP, which are also witnessing increasing number of such incidents.

Sources said denial of leave, protracted duty and snubbing by the senior make jawans some times become the cause of such incidents.

A CRPF jawan at a post in Srinagar said that they should also be allowed to keep their families at the place of posting. “It would definitely defuse our frustration,” he said.

He admitted that suicides and fratricides adversely impact other jawans.