Study reveals scale of female suicides in India

India in 2016 accounted for 17.8 percent of the global population but 36.6 percent of female suicides. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Study reveals scale of female suicides in India

DELHI: Meenu, 25, tried to commit suicide three years ago when her husband tried to stop her from following her career and insisted that she focus on raising their first child.
She was saved by a timely intervention from her neighbor.
“I come from a small town in Kerala (a southern Indian state), and did a professional course for nursing to make a career. I couldn’t reconcile myself to being a fulltime housewife,” Meenu, who is a nurse in a local hospital, told Arab News.
This week, a study by the Lancet, a British health journal, revealed that the number of women committing suicide in India is the highest in the world, terming it a “public health crisis.”
India in 2016 accounted for 17.8 percent of the global population but 36.6 percent of female suicides, making it the “ninth leading cause of death” in the country that year, the Lancet said. Of the female suicides in India, 71.2 percent were in the age group 15-39 years.
“Married women account for the highest proportion of suicide deaths among women in India. Marriage is known to be less protective against suicide for women because of arranged and early marriage, young motherhood, low social status, domestic violence, and economic dependence”, the journal wrote.
Rakhi Dandona, professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Arab News: “The lower status of women in society, gender discrimination, different aspirations and different responsibilities are all factors responsible for female suicides in India.”
She said: “Domestic violence is the biggest factor. Among girls and women depression is more common, and suicide rates are higher in most of the southern Indian states, which are prosperous.”
Women’s rights activists and those working on gender equality say the study calls for action and cannot be ignored.
“This is very sobering data. We never realized the number was so high, especially for girls,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India, a public health group.
Jameela Nishat, who runs the Shaheen Women Resource and Welfare Association, said: “Domestic violence is one of the major factors for suicide among women.”
She added: “Last month, a 25-year-old girl committed suicide because she couldn’t cope with the marital situation. Every month we get a case like this, and most of them are from middle-class families.”
Dandona said: “We need a national suicide-prevention plan. Only then will people start talking about suicide.”
She added: “We need to know why people get mental-health issues. This has to be a macro-level, multi-sectoral exercise.”


At least 11 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ

Updated 18 July 2019
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At least 11 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ

  • The assault comes amid a series of peace talks between Washington and the Taliban that both sides say are making progress
  • 11 people had been killed, including nine civilians and two police officers

KANDAHAR: At least 11 people were killed and scores more wounded Thursday when the Taliban attacked a police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar, officials and the insurgents said.
The assault comes amid a series of peace talks between Washington and the Taliban that both sides say are making progress, but which so far have yielded no reduction in violence in the gruelling Afghan conflict.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the afternoon attack in Afghanistan’s second-largest city started with a car bomb, then saw gunmen storm the police compound.
“A number of mujahideen equipped with heavy and small arms breached the headquarters and launched their operations inside,” he said.
Baheer Ahmadi, the Kandahar governor’s spokesman, said in a statement that 11 people had been killed, including nine civilians and two police officers, while another 80 — including women and children — were wounded.
He earlier had given a toll of 12 dead.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said eight attackers were involved. Two blew themselves up, while the remaining six were “cornered in a building.”
Hayatullah Hayat, the provincial governor for Kandahar, said Afghan security forces had launched a “clean-up operation” to see if any attackers were remaining.
“The fighting is over now. Some vehicles were burnt. Now the Afghan army and US helicopters are hovering in the area,” police chief Tadin Khan told AFP.
Pictures on social media showed a huge plume of smoke rising over Kandahar, and Hayat said about six trucks carrying commercial goods had burnt.
The assault comes just one day after two Afghan soldiers — who were really Taliban operatives — fatally shot an Afghan colonel in Ghazni province.