The recently released National Criminal Records Bureau report on Accidents and Suicides has been reported on from different perspectives – the high number of suicides in south India, the farm suicides, suicides among housewives and several other issues. The data and analysis has also been questioned. There is yet another aspect of the report which raises questions and doubts about the credibility of the data. The NCRB report also has data on suicides in the Central Armed Police forces. The CAPF is an umbrella term used to refer to the 7 paramilitary forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs - Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), National Security Guard (NSG), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Assam Rifles (AR) and Border Security Force (BSF). The NCRB data shows that there were 175 recorded suicides in the CAPF in 2014. Of these, an alarming 45.7%, that’s 80 cases, were from the state of Madhya Pradesh alone. This is bound to raise eyebrows since MP is not a ‘disturbed state’ with heavy CAPF deployment. The News Minute approached each of the forces under the CAPF for their data on suicides. Of the seven, five responded, Assam Rifles and BSF could not be reached for their data. Of the five whose officials responded to our queries, NSG said that they have no deployment in MP. The CRPF, one of the largest forces deployed in MP with 10,000-12,000 personnel in the state, recorded only one suicide case. The ITBP also recorded only a single suicide case of a constable(tradesman) in Karera, MP in its deployment of 3000 personnel. The CISF recorded 11 suicide cases from across the country, only one of which was from MP. SSB replied to our query stating that no soldiers were deployed in MP. They only have a training center and canteen stores department and there have been no recorded suicides there. So in total, only three suicides were recorded by the five CAPFs which responded. This raises doubts over the NCRB data which has shown 80 suicides to be from the state of MP alone. NCRB is an official body which presents the crime statistics in the country. Policy makers refer to it while making policies, and journalists and lawyers also refer to it for their work in the public domain. It is worrying to note that possibly wrong data could be used for making policies and setting the tone for media narratives. When the NCRB was contacted regarding this, Akhilesh Kumar, an officer from the statistics department said that NCRB does not go to the field to collect data, they simply compile what they get from the state police departments. “If there is any flaw in the numbers, we can only ask the respective state or UT’s to verify the data and send us the right figures”, he said. Such flaws in NCRB reports are not being recorded for the first time. In the year 2013, The Hindu reported that the NCRB counts only the ‘principal offence’ in every case, the offence that attracts maximum penalty and not count the other offences mentioned in the FIR. For example, if there is a case involving murder and rape, then the NCRB would count it as a case of murder and not rape. The report says that this leads to the number of crime cases being undercounted. The NCRB has no other source than the FIR’s that are filed with every police station in the state. When media reported the flaw in NCRB’s counting system, R. Rajasekaran, the then Deputy Director of NCRB, did admit the limitations in counting crime due to manual collection of yearly crime data and their total dependence on state and UT’s.
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