Opposition raises suicide of policemen in Assembly; stages walkout

Congress MLA PC Vishnunadh said 88 policemen had committed suicide in the last five years due to the huge workload and stress on them.
Representative image
Representative image

THIRUVANANTHAPRUAM: The Opposition staged a walkout from the Assembly on Monday in protest against the government's refusal to address the acute staff shortage in the police force that has created physical and mental stress among policemen, driving many of them to suicide.

Congress MLA PC Vishnunadh, who gave notice to discuss the matter through an adjournment motion, said 88 policemen had committed suicide in the last five years due to the huge workload and stress on them. "The government's reluctance to recruit adequate police personnel and thereby imposing huge workload on policemen is a state-sponsored atrocity and also a human rights violation," he said.

Vishnunadh said around 118 policemen were needed on an average for a police station to function effectively. However, in many police stations, only 44 policemen on an average are handling the workload of 118 policemen, he added.

Replying to the notice for adjournment motion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan listed many initiatives the government has launched to reduce the workload and stress of policemen. He said the LDF government has created 5,670 new posts in the police force till March 31 this year. "The government is taking steps to increase the staff strength and utilise technology to reduce the workload in the police force," he said.

The Chief Minister admitted that the 'eight-hour duty' could not be fully implemented in all police stations. The government intends to expand it to all stations soon, he said. On recruitment, the Chief Minister said the process is being done effectively by also taking into account the vacancies that may arise in future.

"The work-related stress of policemen cannot be totally avoided but the government will take all steps possible to reduce it. The government has directed the (Home) department to address the circumstances leading to suicide among policemen," the Chief Minister said.

Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan accused the Chief Minister of trying to 'trivialise' a serious issue. He added that the State Police Chief had issued a circular in December 2023 suggesting various measures including counselling to reduce the stress on policemen. But none of the directions were implemented, he alleged.

Satheesan refuted the Chief Minister's claim that there were no external influence or political interference on policemen. He alleged that while the CPM's area committees were controlling the Station House Offices (SHO) in police stations, District Police Chiefs were being controlled by the party's district committees.

Protesting the government's refusal to address the serious issue facing policemen that was also affecting the overall law and order situation in the state, the Opposition staged a walkout.

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The New Indian Express