3 migrants allegedly commit suicide in Surat, mental health crisis brewing amidst lockdown

Anxiety and uncertainty of the future have emerged to be the biggest causes for suicide

migrant workres 

While everyone in the country is trying to flatten the Covid-19 curve, the migrant crisis in India is only ascending, showing no signs of abating. After facing apathy from the government who was supposed to protect them, migrants have been pushed to the brink to take their own lives. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, economic troubles – all these have enveloped migrants in the face of the crisis that has literally run them to the ground.

In three separate incidents, three labourers in Surat allegedly committed suicide on May 16, reported The Indian Express.

In the first incident, 60-year-old Shubhash Prajapati, a resident of Parvat Patia in Surat allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his house on May 16. The incident came to light the next day when neighbours spotted his body and informed his relative, Sunil Chauhan. Chauhan said, “He was working at a construction site. Since the last two months, he did not have a job and was facing financial problems… During the lockdown, he might have been depressed.”

Assistant sub-inspector of Puna police station, Deviben Morakhbhai said, “The deceased was staying alone. The reason behind him committing suicide is not yet known.”

In the second incident, the deceased was identified as Sudhir Singh (24), a resident of Rameshwar Colony, Sachin GIDC, and native of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh. According to the police, he too committed suicide by hanging himself on May 16.

Sudhir used to share his room with a couple of roommates including a distant relative, Amar Singh. On May 15, Sudhir had gone to sleep in his room while the rest of his roommates slept on the terrace of the building. Amar discovered Sudhir’s body the following morning. Talking to the Indian Express, Singh said, “He was working at a dyeing and printing mill for the past three years. We had booked our tickets for UP for May 19…we are shocked. We have informed his family.”

Assistant sub-inspector at the Sachin GIDC police station, Ramanbhai Arjunbhai said that Sudhir was unmarried and had been living in Surat for the past five years. The police were still investigating the reason behind his suicide.

In the third incident, the deceased has been identified as Rohidas Lingayat (55), a resident of Rushinagar in Limbayat area of the city. A native of Maharashtra, Lingayat worked at an auto garage and allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself on May 16.

According to the police, he had gone to his room to take a nap after lunch. After one-and-a-half hours, his wife knocked on the door but had failed to open it and later discovered his body.

Assistant sub-inspector, Sachin GIDC, Ajit Singh Chhatra Singh said, “We don’t know what went wrong for Rohidas to take such a drastic step. We have taken the statements of his family members and they, too, don’t know anything. Once the lockdown opens, we will talk to the garage owner where he worked.”

Reports of a 27-year old migrant labourer who had returned to Chhattisgarh from Gujarat allegedly committing suicide also came to the fore. Suraj Yadu, the deceased, had reportedly killed himself on Monday at a quarantine centre in Balod in Chhattisgarh, the police said.

Hindustan Times reported that the reason of the suicide was yet to be ascertained and investigation in the matter was underway.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Balod, ML Kotwani told HT, “Suraj Yadu, a resident of Paraswani village under Arjunda police, returned on Sunday from Surat (Gujarat) and was kept in a quarantine centre near his village. On Monday evening, he committed suicide by hanging himself.”

The police said that on Monday, May 18, Suraj had given samples for the Covid-19 tests after which he was seen inside the school-turned quarantine centre.

“Later, he was found hanging. The body has been sent for post-mortem and investigation is underway,” said Kotwani, adding that he had returned to his village after two years.

In Gurugram, a 40-year-old migrant too allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance after he was allegedly harassed by his landlord for not paying the rent of his room in Gandhi Nagar, reported The Tribune.

The deceased was identified as Madhusudan, a native of Odisha. A suicide note was recovered from his room in which he claimed that he committed suicide as his landlord was continuously harassing him over room rent and he had no money.

His suicide note read, “I continue to suffer without work and do not have money even for food but my landlord is demanding room rent. He is harassing me every day and I cannot take it anymore and so took extreme step.”

The police has booked his landlord for abetment to suicide on the basis of the suicide note. An FIR under Section 306 has been registered at the Shivaji Nagar police station against the landlord.

The investigation officer, Sub-Inspector SUbhash Yadav said, “We informed the family of deceased in Odisha who told us that he was not in their contact from the last 20 years. Probe is on and the body is kept in mortuary.”

Mental illness, suicides rise during Covid-19

A study by the Indian Psychiatry Society (IPS) has said that there has almost been a 20 percent rise in mental illnesses during the Covid-19 crisis. People are living in fear of losing their jobs and their lifestyles have been massively impacted. Being forced to stay indoors with limited resources is also causing anxiety, panic attacks and even withdrawal symptoms to those who suffer from addictions.

The pandemic has affected those particularly in rural areas with reverse migration coming through. Sections of society like farmers, who are already at-risk, are more susceptible to mental illness that comes with the crisis.

Dr. Vikram Patel, co-founder, Sangath, an NGO focused on child development, adolescent and youth health, and mental health and chronic disease, while speaking at the United Nations Development Programme, India’s webinar on mental health being affected by Covid-19 said that the numbrs being given by the government heighten anxiety. The second problem he says is ‘uncertainty’ and the lack of communication from the Centre and states, which affects the small business operators the most who worry about the future. He says, “The human mind needs a sense of control and that has been take away from a mass scale which is creating anxiety.”

Examples like these only go to show the stark gap in mental health provisions on the ground, to people who need them the most and the pandemic is just another way of showing that post this there will be a need for substantial investment in mental health services to help people tide by the after impact of the crisis.



Labour laws and rights in peril in India?

SHOCKING! States ask incoming migrants to pay for institutional quarantine



Related Articles