Worrying statistics on CAPF deaths | Deccan Herald

Losing his temper, Constable Bhupinder Singh of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) engaged in a shootout, seriously injuring three of his colleagues in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir on July 16 afternoon. He then turned the INSAS rifle on himself and committed suicide.

On 6 March, mentally ill Border Security Force (BSF) agent Satteppa Sidappa Kilaragi went berserk and shot four of his colleagues with his duty rifle before being struck by a bullet that had ricocheted. He died while under treatment. A day later, BSF Chief Constable Johnson Toppo shot dead fellow Chief Constable HG Shekharan after a heated argument in Murshidabad along the Indo-Bangladesh border. He then committed suicide.

Incidents of fratricide and suicide have increased in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) comprising CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guards (NSG) and Assam Rifles in recent years. According to the data, up to 25 incidents of fratricide were reported in the CAPF between 2019 and 2021, of which 13 took place in the CRPF, resulting in the death of 16 personnel and the injury of 12 men. Between 2014 and 2019, 220 incidents of fratricide were recorded at the CAPF. The BSF lost 23 of its men in 15 cases of fratricide between 2018 and 2021.

Suicides, too, have increased in recent years. As many as 1,205 CAPF staff ended their lives between 2012 and 2021, with 129 such cases in 2019 rising to 143 in 2020 and 156 last year, according to a statement to Lok. Sabha by the Minister of State for the Interior. Nityanand Rai in March.

Between 2018 and 2021, 193 BSF staff committed suicide, including 52 last year alone, while 194 in CRPFs ended their lives during the same period, with 60 cases last year. Between January 2013 and June 2022, 400 CRPF members died by suicide, with a maximum of 98 having taken the plunge while deployed to states affected by left-wing extremists. Eighty-three resorted to the extreme step when posted in Jammu and Kashmir, while 67 of them committed suicide while based in the northeast.

Undoubtedly, the hardship, the hardship of the functions, the slowness of promotions and transfers coupled with frequent displacements pushed most of them to take the extreme step. The long working hours coupled with the lack of leisure facilities and few opportunities to afford the luxury of staying with their families have had a negative impact on the psyche of the staff. Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the BSF anniversary parade in Jaisalmer last year announced: “The central government is making efforts to ensure that every soldier who has given his golden time to the country can spend about 100 days a year with his family. It is a great responsibility of the government which will soon be fulfilled.

Although this is a commendable measure that will improve the situation, its implementation on the ground is problematic.

In the current situation, while staff are entitled to 60 days of earned leave and another 15 days of casual leave, not all staff are entitled to take leave of absence for various reasons. The battalions do not have all their effectives. Huge vacancies at the company level and the constraints of having to provide an operational force for the conduct of operations deter officers from sending them on leave of absence.

Currently, there are 84,405 vacancies at CAPF. According to Minister Nityanand Rai, there are 29,985 vacancies in CRPF, 19,254 in BSF, 10,918 in CISF, 11,402 in SSB, 9,659 in Assam Rifles and 3,187 in ITBP. With so many vacancies, it becomes difficult for officers to maintain operational strength.

Taking suicides and fratricides seriously, the CRPF has implemented several measures from time to time such as yoga, the “chaupal” – where officers and men interact informally and express their grievances – and the Art of Living course .

A working group was set up in October 2021 to study and recommend corrective measures to prevent suicides and fratricides in the CAPF. His recommendations are expected and hopefully he will come out with drastic measures, which is the need of the hour. The Center should quickly implement its recommendations. Saving lives at all costs should be the priority and that alone should dictate the future course of action.

(The author is Inspector General of Police (retired), CRPF)