From Ajay Mehta and Pryanika Shukla
NEW DELHI – The world’s otherwise 2nd largest army that often continue to blame Pakistan Army for fake border violations appears to be on a constant suicide spree a total of 310 personnel the Indian have committed suicide from 2010 to 2012, Indian Defense Minister has told the Parliament .
In a written reply to the House, Defense Minister A K Antony presented the figures relating to suicides in all the three Defense Services of India, with army emerging at the top with 310 suicides out of 368 overall aggregate of Army, Navy and the Air Force.
In 2010, a total of 130 such incidents came to light in which 115 involved army personnel. Navy saw one of its personnel committing suicide. 129 suicides were recorded in the armed forces in 2011 in which 102 cases happened in Army alone. Last year, 109 incidents came to light, out of which 93 were from Army. In a related query, Antony told the House that 792 Army officers have taken premature retirements during last three years.
Replying to a question over shortage of men in the three services, he said Army faces a shortage of 10,100 officers while Navy and Air Forces are short of 2,054 and 667 officers, respectively. The shortage of personnel below Officer Rank in the Army, Navy and Air Force is 26,433, 14,512 and 7000 respectively.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that as many as 12 active-duty soldiers committed suicide merely in the month of November last year, pushing the Indian Army above 2011’s record number of suicides .
Also in November 2012 there were as many as 15 suicides among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty. Of those, 12 were from the Army National Guard and three from the Army Reserve.
In 2012, 126 soldiers from this population committed suicides: 84 from the Guard and 42 from the Reserve. In 2011, the total number of suicides among this population of soldiers was 118. Of those, 82 were from the Guard and 36 from the Reserve. In all, the Indian Army suffered as many as 303 suicides last year.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that with one Indian soldier committing suicide every third day , the Indian Army is losing more soldiers to suicides and fratricides than to militancy related incidents and same is available in an India’s Ministry of Defense report. The 31st report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense brought out the fact that 620 soldiers of the Indian army committed suicides in last 4 years while merely 208 were killed in militancy related incidents across the country while some 60 to 80 soldiers tried to kill themselves but failed.
Findings of the suicide report were also stated in the Indian Parliament by the Defense Minister, AK Antony, where he informed the House that 1018 soldiers had committed suicides since 2003, with the yearly toll maintaining an average of over one hundred soldiers taking the extreme step of taking their own lives.
According to The Daily Mail’s investigations, a study undertaken by the Defense Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), whereby humiliation and harassment at the hands of their superiors, over and above the occupational and family factors were stressing the soldiers to the point where they either killed themselves or opened fire at their fellow soldiers or officers.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further indicate that to deal with the stress related casualties, the Indian Army has opened twenty two psychiatric treatment centers since 2001, which besides treating mental trauma patients, tried to train counseling staff too. Besides deploying the psychiatric counselors the Indian Army also employed over one thousand religious teachers to overcome the suicide trends among its ranks. However, none of these tactics worked out after which the then Army Chief of India, General Deepak Kapoor, in 2009, ordered a special study to overcome the menace.
The Daily Mail's investigations indicate that the factor of suicides and random shoot outs on colleagues by Indian soldiers, especially in the Occupied Kashmir had become a big dilemma for the Indian Army top brass. When this exercise gained momentum, the Indian Army leadership approached different consultants and analysts. The consultants and analysts reached the conclusion that Indian soldiers deployed in the valley were committing suicides and killing colleagues out of acute frustration and depression. Medical and psychological
consultants and analysts are of the view that since majority of the soldiers deployed in the valley are married and are away from their wives for very long time, they are gripped by sexual frustrations which ultimately transforms into mental frustrations. These consultants suggested that the soldiers posted in the IOK should be sent [back to India] on leaves to be with their wives once a month.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that this became another dilemma for the Indian Army's top brass as it is not possible at all to send such huge number of [Indian] soldiers on leaves with regular intervals. These investigations further reveal that upon this a Major-General was sent to Moscow to get some solution to the problems as Russians had some sort of similar problems around 2 decades back. This [Indian] General, identified as General Kumar, returned with a very strange solution. The Russian consultants told the Indian Army that since the soldiers in the valley are women- starved, they should be provided with women to meet their genuine and natural [sexual] needs.
The Daily Mail's investigations indicate that at this stage, the Indian Army Chief constituted a committee under the command of Lt. General Raj Kumar Karwal, who is currently posted as Director-General of a training facility of the Indian Army, while Major-General Sanjeev Loomba, Brigadier Anil Sharma, Colonel N.K. Khunduri and Colonel Sanjay Rai were members of the committee. The committee finally came up with the solution that since it was not possible to provide street sex workers directly to the [Indian] soldiers, thus “professionals” should be recruited with the title of sex-workers and then they should be given basic military training and should be posted in Kashmir sector as soldiers so that male soldiers can establish [sexual] relations with them.
It was also decided that the recruitment should not be made publicly, but [Indian] RAW's help should be sought as RAW has a huge network of prostitutes in different cities of India. The Daily Mail's investigations reveal that RAW completed the assignment successfully and provided a batch of some 300, semi-educated prostitutes to the General Raj Kumar committee after proper medical checkup of every individual.
The committee then approached the [Indian] Army Chief and it was decided that these new recruits should not be made part of mainstream Army, but should be adjusted in [Indian] Border Security Force (BSF) and from there, their, “services” would be made available for Indian Army’s Northern Command.
The [Indian Army sex] project was completed by the end of August, 2009 when the new recruited batch of 300 [Indian glam girls] completed a basic military training and Army Chief was informed that ‘recruits’ were ready for deployment in the occupied valley and the “recruits” were finally deployed in September, 2009 under the guise of “First Female Battalion of the Indian Army”. However, even this project miserably failed as the side effects of such an unprecedented exercise were not taken into the consideration by the top brass of the Indian army.