Six personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were killed and three others injured in an exchange of fire among themselves in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district on Wednesday, police said. The incident took place at the Kadenar camp of ITBP's 45thbattalion in Narayanpur, located around 350 km from Raipur, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P said. According to preliminary information, an ITBP jawan allegedly fired at his colleagues with his service weapon, killing four of them and injuring three others, he said. Sundarraj said the jawan did not hold any kind of animosity towards his colleagues, or seemed under distress, adding "the incident is being investigated".
The injured personnel were being shifted to hospital, he said. Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Mohit Garg rushed to the spot, he added.
There was some confusion over the sequence of events. The jawan who opened fire was also gunned down in cross-firing, some reports claimed. However, now an official statement has been released to clarify the sequence of events. “It is clarified that Ct GD Musdul Rahman opened fire upon colleagues before shooting himself and no cross firing or neutralizing done by colleagues,” the statement read.
Mental health in armed forces has been an issue that has not bee dealt properly in India. Recent government data shows that between 2011 and 2018, there were 891 deaths by suicide of members of the Indian armed forces. It does not include soldiers in para forces.
Suicides were highest in the Army, which reported that 707 personnel took their own lives between 2011 and 2018. The Air Force reported nearly 5 times fewer suicides at 148 over the eight years. The Navy has the lowest number of suicides, with 36 deaths reported over the same period.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) reported 56 suicides in the four years, the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) reported 25 suicides. The Assam Rifles reported 30 deaths by to suicide in the same period.
The data reveals that the bulk of the people who take their own lives are not gazetted officers, junior commanding officers or subordinate officers, but come from “other ranks.” The highest number of suicides were reported in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.