Suicide Rate Witnessing Sharp Rise In Kashmir Valley, Report Reveals

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Last Year, 586 People Attempted Suicide In Kashmir; 20 In Jammu

Srinagar- In a disturbing trend, the suicide rate has risen sharply last year, with close to 600 people attempting to end their lives in the Kashmir Valley. In Jammu 20 such cases were reported during that period.

According to the Crime Gazette 2021 recently released by Jammu and Kashmir Police, the valley is witnessing an increase in attempted suicide cases with Central Kashmir district Budgam and North Kashmir’s Baramulla toping the tally with 73 cases each with crime rate 4.36 per lakh population.

Mental health experts in Kashmir describe the attempt to suicide as “intention to end one’s life” but “he/she may or may not die” because of the act.

According to the data, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, the Valley witnessed 586 attempted suicide cases in 2021 while the number was at 472 in 2020. At the same time, the winter capital Jammu witnessed only 20 cases of suicide attempts.

The data in 2021 clearly shows that there has been noticeable increase in the attempt to suicide cases as compared to the year 2020.

It further revealed that 41 cases of abetment to suicide were registered in 2021 and while the numbers were at 35 in 2020

The data noted that over 586 cases were registered in the year 2021 out of which the investigation of over 320 cases are pending.

After Budgam and Baramulla, South Kashmir’s Anantnag district witnessed 67 cases while Srinagar reported 51 cases of attempt of suicide.

A top police official told Kashmir Observer that most of the people couldn’t survive in these cases.

He said a number of cases were marriage-related issues, unemployment, depression, dowry-related issues, extramarital affairs and failure in examinations.

Since abrogation of special status three years ago and the back to back due to COVID-10 pandemic, the erstwhile state’s economy has been badly hit.

Doctors say people are experiencing financial stress, employment issues, emotional stressors, change in family ties, domestic abuse, experiencing helplessness.

Dr. Yasir Rather, a noted psychiatrist and professor at the Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (IMHANS) in Srinagar told Kashmir Observer that there is a rise of suicide cases post Covid-19 pandemic which started in the year 2020.

“Because of the pandemic, people had financial, domestic and other issues, which are prospecting factors of suicide,” he said.

Pertinently, the unemployment graph in Jammu and Kashmir has shot up considerably over the past several years.

The unemployment rate jumped to 20.2 percent in July, as compared to 17.2 percent in June, data released by the CMIE on Monday revealed. The July jobless rate is the second highest since January when it was 15.2 percent.

As per the data available, the unemployment rate (UR) in march had hit a new record with 25 percent unemployment in the first quarter of 2022. The UR had astronomically risen since last year and has touched its worst value in 2022, when compared to the past five years.

While describing the suicide as the symptom of underlying mental health problem, Dr. Rather said “90 percent of the suicide cases have underlaying major depression disorder, which leads them to suicide”

He said there are three factors of committing suicide, when there is helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness or if you feel the guilt of anything. These factors increase the risk of suicide,”

According to data, there were 287 suicides in J&K in 2017, which rose to 330 in 2018. In 2019 however, the number dropped marginally, but the region still recorded 284 suicides during that year.

Notably, the pandemic year of 2020 witnessed 457, the highest number of suicide cases in last decade. Since 2010 to 2020, the valley has witnessed 3024 cases of suicide.

Mufti Azmatullah of Darul Uloom Rahimia, Bandipora told Kashmir Observer that it is the joint responsibility of the society towards the person who has tendency to commit the suicide.

“Everyone is having issues at home but you need to channelise them and sort-it out. It is the job of family and society to look after the person who is under depression,” the Mufti said.

He said Islam doesn’t allow suicide and it is considered a major sin.

“The person who commits suicide will be questioned on the day of judgment instead of sharing your grief with your relatives and friends you committed suicide so, you will be punished to commit it again and again,” he added.

Suicide has many convocations—-economic, social, political and psychology maintains, Dr. Mir Suhail, a research scholar at Kashmir University’s Sociology department.

“Suicide is not just an act but it is protest against injustice and suppression from society,” Suhail, who has completed his research on suicide in Kashmir.

He further added that the community and religious leaders need to develop an indigenous mechanism to address this issue.

He said society starts from the family and they should develop a scientific temper to bring up their kids.

“You can’t restrict the kids, humiliate them and there is a need for scientific parenting,” Dr. Suhail said.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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