Awareness campaign to prevent Idu Mishmi community suicides

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Arunachal Pradesh
Itanagar, Feb 13: Suicide cases in the small Idu Mishmi community in Arunachal Pradesh has prompted a prominent organisation representing the people to organise month-long awareness campaigns in the areas they inhabit.

A recent study by Tarun Mene, a research scholar of the Rajiv Gandhi University, revealed that in the past one month or so three suicide cases had been reported in the community living in the Dibang and Lower Dibang Valley districts.

The same study found that there were 226 cases of suicide among the people in less than four decades. Though the figure is not very high, it sounds alarming considering that the community has only 13,000 members as per the 2011 census.

To redress the situation, the Idu Mishmi Cultural and Literary Society (IMCLS), a body representing the community, organised awareness campaigns in the districts, highlighting the need to respect one's life.

The IMCLS held meetings with the Idu Mishmi people in several towns and villages in the Dibang Valley district to impress upon them the need to show respect to their lives. The IMCLS called on each individual community member to shoulder responsibility to ensure that every member had the necessary support and resources to overcome emotional distress.

IMCLS president Enju Linggi said often the "cultural factor" drove the people to commit suicide. By cultural factor, Linggi means the acceptance of suicide as a practice in the community. Not only suicide, euthanasia too prevails among the people who perform it on those willing to die because of old age or severe illness, he said.

Such findings have been observed and documented by academicians from the community like Dr Rajiv Miso, Assistant Professor at Yachuli Government College, and administrators T K Bhattacharjee, who had served in Dibang Valley district as Additional Deputy Commissioner during the 1980s.

The State Women's Commission in a study recently found that the limited scope for marital relation because of the small size of the community was a major reason for frustration in the younger generation, Gumri Ringu, Commission chairperson said. 


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