While the rest of the world increasingly adheres to a more humane and compassionate approach to address the tragic and often-controversial issue of suicide, India appears to have stuck to a seemingly obsolete stand in dealing with its own suicide survivors . One prime example of this apathy would be the fact that the onus of collecting and storing data on suicide in the largest democracy of the world still lies with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
That’s indeed strange considering the fact that even countries like the U.K. that used to have rigid laws to deal with suicide survivors (mostly on religious ground), amended their Suicide Act more than half a century back in order to stop categorizing suicide or suicide attempts as a criminal offence.
Similar amendment must be brought about in the Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalizes suicide and suicide attempts. However, according to those struggling on behalf of suicide survivors across the country, things could soon change for the better after the Home Ministry is done examining the matter in order to humanize the relevant laws.
As per the data released by the NCRB, in 2013, 371 suicides were committed across India each day. Out of these 371, 248 were men and 89 of them chose to end their lives owing to family problems. The second most cited reason was illness.
It’s obvious that only a sense of sheer hopelessness and acute depression can force a person to prefer death over life. The intent of the person in such cases does not involve harming others. Hence, it is only logical to treat suicide survivors with compassion rather than making their life even worse on absurd and outdated legal ground. If done correctly, that may as well be the first step towards rehabilitating a suicide survivor and helping him/her to move on with life.