The incidents in which two police officers from Karnataka committed suicide in a span of a week has hogged headlines. The state assembly witnessed unruly scenes over these incidents with the opposition demanding that a case be registered against those politicians that Dy SP Ganapathy named before committing suicide.
Cop suicides are nothing new in the state. In the past 12 years the state has witnessed over 120 cop suicides. The reasons for these suicides vary. However the top three reasons for these suicides are bad pay, political pressure and harassment by seniors.
The National Crime Records Bureau has the statistics only for ten years. The NCRB states that in Karnataka between 2003 and 2013, 122 police personnel have committed suicide. Once the list for the years 2014 to 2016 are updated then the number will be higher.
In some cases, the suicides are highlighted but in many they go unnoticed. In the case of Ganapathy he had put out a suicide note and before killing himself he had spoken about political pressure from senior ministers in the government which included former home minister, K J George.
However there are a number of cases that have gone unnoticed. In those cases the police personnel have not blamed anyone before they committed suicide. However accounts gathered from family members suggest that they were facing political pressure or harassment at work. There are also a number of them who have said that the job pays too low and it is extremely unsatisfying.
Most of the cop suicides involved persons in the age group of 35 and 45 years. Cops aged 40 and above have complained about a bad pay scale and also long working hours. These are two factors that have led to problems in their families as a result of which they have taken the extreme step.
The police personnel below the age of 40 have normally succumbed to political pressure. They are lesser experienced and many are unable to handle such pressure. Some have also not found support from their seniors which has only added to their disgruntlement.
Recently the Akhila Karnataka Police Maha Sangha had planned a massive protest involving constables across the state. However the government successfully scuttled the protest. The government assured the constables of better working conditions and a decent pay package.