High suicide rate in Kashmir valley alarming
The Commission has taken suo-motu cognizance of a news item in a national daily dated 16 May 2004 alleging high suicide deaths and attempts at suicides in the Kashmir Valley. It has called for a report from the Chief Secretary, Government of Jammu & Kashmir with a request to furnish within six weeks the number of suicide deaths and attempted suicides in the Kashmir Valley for the years 1999-2000 to 2003-2004. The report should include the break-up in terms of age, gender and rural-urban areas of suicide deaths/attempted suicides, it said. If investigations/inquiries has established a linkage with militancy in the State to the major causes of the unfortunate trends of incidents then it should be mentioned in the report.
The media report on which the Commission took suo-motu cognizance, mentioned that 20,000 people have attempted suicide during the 14 years of socio-political turmoil in the Valley. About 3,000 of them have died and most of them were in the 16 to 25 age group. In Kashmir, it alleged, suicides are said to have claimed the second highest number of lives after militancy. While it is estimated that more than 60,000 lives have been lost in the State since militancy erupted in 1988, the suicide toll through the years runs into thousands, it highlighted.
The newspaper report further mentions that, 575 cases of attempt to suicide have been admitted to the SMHS Hospital alone. In the entire State, at least one suicide is recorded every alternate day and there is hardly a hamlet or mohalla that has been untouched by more than one incident of suicide attempts. Quoting psychiatrists, the report said that the incessant violence in the Valley has devastated the psyche of the Kashmiris and stress-related diseases have grown manifold across the social spectrum, driving people mostly youngsters - increasingly to suicide.