An Indian inspector of police, attached to the intelligence wing, shot himself to death with his service revolver Saturday evening in Patan in the western state of Gujarat. He was operated upon at the local hospital but died two hours later. Relatives felt the sheer pressure of election-related work should have driven him to suicide.
According to the Patan police, Hathiji Chawda, a senior inspector, shot himself twice in the chest, with his 0.36 bore service revolver, at the office of the deputy superintendent of police.
"When constables heard the shots, they rushed in only to find an unconscious Chawda, lying in a pool of blood. He was taken to the city hospital where doctors operated upon him and extracted the bullets, one of which had punctured his heart. But he could not be saved," said a senior official.
Relatives said, "He was working almost twenty-four hours a day. He had been transferred to the intelligence wing only recently because of his familiarity with the ground realities. Last four days, he did not even come home, busy as he was with VIP visits.
"Colleagues said he rarely slept," said an agitated Veeraj Jadeja, Chawda's relative and himself an ex-policeman.
He also accused senior police officials of not having been supportive enough, instead only piling more and more work on him. "Inevitably he collapsed, and his superiors are guilty. We will certainly file a complaint against them," Jadeja added.
Gujarat is witnessing a high-voltage campaign for the elections to the state assembly as two leading national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, are locking horns there.
The state had witnessed some terrible riots five years ago, and hundreds of Muslims were killed. The authorities have to be on their toes all the time to ensure there is no repeat of the communal carnage.
It is the police officials at the lower rungs, especially those engaged in intelligence gathering, who have to pay a heavy price in the bargain, it is pointed out.
Suicide may be defined as the deliberate ending of one's own life in an act of self-harm. Attempted suicide is the unsuccessful suicidal act.