Representational Image. Image Courtesy: News18
Bhopal: The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have allegedly forced 27 people aged 14 to 40 years to take their own lives in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district in the past one month. As per police data, they were worried over a range of things, including high school and competitive exams, job loss, financial crisis and business failure.
Khandwa which is located in the Nimar region of Madhya Pradesh is 250 km away from the state capital and 63 km away from Indore. The city is in the red zone, with 283 COVID-19 cases till June 19.
Police reports claimed that out of 27, a total of 20 people ended their life due to unemployment, hunger and family disputes which erupted due to the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 induced lockdown between May 1 and May 17. Seven deaths were reported between May 17 and May 31.
Six out of the 20 people who ended their lives during May 1-17 were females aged between 15 and 26, the police said. Most of the deceased were students, workers of local shops and competitive exams aspirants who were disheartened after seeing their future in limbo post lockdown.
In all the incidents, the Khandwa Police have registered cases under Section 174 (Police to enquire and report on suicide, etc.) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and launched an investigation.
Sanjay Ingle, psychologist at Khandwa District Hospital, said suicide cases had sharply increased during the lockdown as well as even after restrictions were relaxed in the district.
“Every day, we are seeing 3-4 cases of suicide in the hospital since lockdown 4 was imposed. In the last 30 days, the hospital has received 50-60 cases of suicide and around 40% have succumbed to poisoning,” said Dr Ingle.
The deceased aged between 14 and 23 were students, 24 and 30 years old were competitive exam aspirants, while the deceased between 30 and 40 years old or above were either businessmen or workers in local shops, claimed the doctor, adding that, “You can imagine the situation on June 15, when the hospital admitted seven people who tried to take their own lives on a single day.”
Ingle claimed that five to six people every day visit the psychology department of the hospital for consultation. “They are distressed due to job loss. The shopkeepers and small businessmen are sacking their employees due to huge loss. Students are distracted because they are afraid of losing a year, while the competitive exam aspirants are also going through the same mental agony,” he added.
When contacted, Chief Medical Health Officer DS Chouhan said this had become a new normal. And suicide cases are not only rising in Khandwa, but, across districts.
The elder brother of one of the deceased told NewsClic: “After completing her post graduate last year, she was tirelessly preparing for competitive exams. She was a brilliant student and always secured better ranks in the exams. Hence, she was hoping to crack competitive exams, but, owing to lockdown she was very worried.”
In another case, the deceased had taken a debt to run his pathology lab. However, due to the lockdown, he was suffering from losses and was forced to end his life, according to ASI Amit Kori of Kotwali Police Station.