KARACHI: As many as 1,287 persons, including 586 females, committed suicide over the last five years across the province.
Data compiled by the Sindh police for a study about suicides in the province said that 681 Muslims and 606 Hindus ended their life between Jan 1, 2014, and June 30, 2019.
It said 702 of them aged between 21 and 40.
Inspector-General of Police Dr. Syed Kaleem Imam told Dawn that the study was carried out by a newly established research wing of the police.
This research was needed in the wake of growing incidents of suicide, particularly in lower Sindh. Its purpose was partly to sensitize the police and identify triggering factors behind suicides, the IGP said.
He said that the police had taken the Sindh government on board about this study as well as other studies regarding crimes, human rights violations, etc, so that collective effort could be made to address the challenges.
The IGP pointed out that the police had taken cognizance of the suicides and launched a proper investigation particularly in lower Sindh where suicides had become a cause of concern.
According to the data, 646 persons, including 356 females, ended their life in Mirpurkhas range/division with 324 of them aged between 21 and 40 years. Among the deceased, 449 were Hindus and 197 Muslims.
In the Hyderabad division, a total of 299 people, including 116 females, committed suicide with 191 victims aged between 21 and 40. Some 187 were Muslims and 112 Hindus.
In Shaheed Benazirabad range, 181 persons, including 75 females, ended their life and 91 of them aged between 21 and 40. Among the victims, 139 were Muslims and 42 Hindus.
In Karachi range, 107 people, including 25 females, committed suicide and 68 of them aged between 21 and 40.
In the Larkana range, 48 people, including 12 females, committed suicide with 25 aged between 21 and 40. Among the deceased, 47 were Muslims and one was Hindu.
In Sukkur, only six persons, including two women, committed suicide during the period and three of them aged between 21 and 40. Five of them were Muslims and one was Hindu.
A total of 1,287 persons also attempted to end their life across the province during the given period.
The study said people used different methods to end their life, including hanging, administering poison (drinking pesticides), drowning (jumping into a well), self-immolation, fenestration (jumping from high places), gunshot and sharp blade/knife have been cited in the police’s research work.
Poverty, unemployment, falling socio-economic status, marital issues, domestic violence, addiction of drugs and psychological issues have been cited as some of the major reasons behind the suicides.
The study proposed ‘reforms’ in the police to properly study and investigate suicide incidents reported under Section 174 of the criminal procedure code.
Besides, the affected families should be persuaded to come forward for a proper investigation of the cases. Moreover, a toll-free number for counseling should be launched.
Involvement of religious scholars, civil society, NGOs, lady health visitors, family welfare workers and launching of mass awareness campaigns have also been proposed in the police’s research work as some other measures to prevent or control rising suicides in Sindh.
It also wanted the government to initiate poverty alleviation programs.
A senior police officer familiar with this development told Dawn that there was a need to pay special attention to those women whose marriages took place at an early age to lower the rate of suicides in that group of people.