NHRC seeks report on mental health of central forces

The direction came in the wake of a petition filed by human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Delhi.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

BHUBANESWAR : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a detailed report from the Ministry of Home Affairs on actions taken to address psycho-physical health issues of personnel employed with the country’s central forces.

The apex human rights panel has asked to submit the report by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Assam Rifles within six weeks.

The direction came in the wake of a petition filed by human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, who brought a series of suicide and fratricide in the central forces, armed forces and paramilitary forces, to the notice of the Commission. He had listed out the events across the country wherein the armed forces personnel had committed suicide or killed their colleagues, allegedly due to weak mental health.

Pursuant to an earlier direction, the Ministry of Defence had submitted a report on all the issues raised by the complainant. Though four months have passed since the MoD report was submitted, the reports from CRPF, BSF, SSB and Assam Rifles are awaited.

Citing several instances of crimes and suicides in the defence and paramilitary forces in the country, Tripathy alleged the mental health is not being taken into account while assessing the efficiency and performance of personnel engaged in defence and paramilitary forces.

“Mental health is a statutory and constitutional right of each and every citizen of India including the defence and paramilitary personnel who have been entrusted with top responsibility of protecting the nation and maintaining law and order,” he pointed out.

Reports from the central forces have been sought on steps taken for assessment of mental health of armed personnel irrespective of their rank and hierarchy, regular monitoring, physical, psychological and psychometric evaluation of forces and measures for community-based mental health interventions.

“The Commission has taken this issue seriously. The reports are necessary to evaluate and address the concerns,” the NHRC order stated.

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