Antony says number of suicide, fratricide cases down

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today said the number of cases of suicide and fratricide had come down considerably, but stressed that efforts to reduce avoidable loss of lives have to be persisted with.

''I will urge all of you to pay your undivided attention to better and more humane man management. Commanders and officers must respect the dignity of the soldiers and redress their grievances on priority. You must also provide opportunities for increased qualitative and quantitative interactions with officers and soldiers,'' he said while addressing the Army Commanders' Conference here.

Mr Antony called upon the Commanders to play more proactive role in ensuring the welfare of defence personnel.

To meet this objective, he said, the Army Commanders were nominated to Rajya Sainik Boards headed by Governors or Chief Ministers of respective states.

However, the Defence Minister said it had been pointed out that senior Army officers did not attend meetings of the boards regularly.

These meetings were an ideal platform to strengthen contact with the state governments and should be attended regularly, he urged.

''The Commanders could similarly look into the grievances of ex-servicemen and families of serving Army personnel residing within their areas of jurisdiction and serve as a bridge between them and the civil administration,'' Mr Antony added.

The Defence Minister called upon the Commanders to collectively ensure that issues of the personnel were addressed urgently and without any favour or rancour.

UNI AG PK AS1755

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