By Dr Arvind Kumar
The disclosure in Rajya Sabha the other day by the Defence Minister A.K. Antony that between 2009 and July 2010 some 170 armed forces personnel committed suicide is very shocking. Our brave jawans are the sentinels of national security. They brave all odds to safeguard our borders. They lay down their precious lives as martyrs and not meant for committing suicides as cowards. This is a second national shame after farmers committing suicides. There seems something wrong with the system which requires transformation. It is a grave national issue impinging upon country’s security and calls for urgent remedy. We suggest:
• Need for better Officer-Jawan relations;
• According priority to tackle personal problems of Jawans;
• Increased emphasis on reducing stress among the armed forces prsonnel;
• Need for frequent counselling on stress management by trained and qualified psychiatrists;
• Need for deploying ‘religious teachers’ to counsel troops;
• Need for augmenting means of recreation of Jawans, particularly in border areas etc.