04 Nov 2006 Source: Reuters
SRINAGAR, India, Nov 4 (Reuters) – At least 100 Indian soldiers are committing suicide every year and are mainly those fighting insurgents in Kashmir and the northeastern states, according to India's army chief.
Dozens of soldiers, including officers, have also been killed by their colleagues in Kashmir. Early this week a soldier shot dead an officer at an army camp in Srinagar in the fourth such incident in little more than a week.
"On average we have been having about 100 suicide cases a year in the past four to five years, so this year has been (the) same," General J.J. Singh said in Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital, on Friday.
"Mainly it (suicide) is in such (insurgency-hit) areas, but they are also happening in areas where there is no insurgency," local newspapers reported him as saying on Saturday.
Indian authorities say they have introduced yoga for soldiers and officers to reduce stress. Singh said counselling was also being provided.
India has a 1.1 million-strong army, the world's second largest after China. It has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers in Kashmir since 1989 to quell a revolt against New Delhi's rule in the mountainous region.
More than 45,000 people including civilians, soldiers and Muslim militants have been killed in the revolt in Kashmir. The region's political separatists put the toll at twice as high.