UDF attacks Left govt over rise in suicide cases among police officers in Kerala

Congress MLA P C Vishnunadh moved a notice for an adjournment motion on the matter and said the shortage of staff, hectic schedule, and long working hours were among the causes of the increase in suicides among officers.
Congress MLA P C Vishnunadh
Congress MLA P C Vishnunadh

Thiruvananthapuram | The opposition Congress-led UDF on Monday slammed the Left government in Kerala over the rise in suicides among police officers and staged a walkout after the Speaker denied them permission to discuss the matter.

Congress MLA P C Vishnunadh moved a notice for an adjournment motion on the matter and said the shortage of staff, hectic schedule, and long working hours were among the causes of the increase in suicides among officers.

Vishnunadh claimed that 88 officers had committed suicide in the last five years.

"At the same time, 148 officers have taken Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and have opted for other jobs due to the hectic work pressure in the force," he said.

The Congress MLA further claimed that the acute shortage of staff in the police force has led to the overburdening of the existing staff, which has led to conflicts and depression, among other issues.

"While there is a requirement of at least 118 officers in a police station, only 44 are available. These 44 officers need to handle the law and order, the investigation, court duties, VIP handling, traffic cases, and many more. The officers don't even get time to spend with their families." Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan acknowledged that there was an issue of staff shortages in the force.

"The extra hours of duty are part of the job. But we are trying to reduce the long working hours," he said.

The suicides being reported from the police force is not just due to work pressure but also to family issues, diseases, and many other factors.

"In 52 police stations across the state, we have implemented an eight-hour work schedule. We plan to implement it at other stations as well. However, the extended working hours are also due to the nature of the work," Vijayan added.

The CM also denied the charge that there was any political interference in the police force.

However, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan expressed shock over the suicide of 88 police officers in the state.

"The stress and strain faced by the police officers should not be ignored, as it affects the law and order of the state. The stress and strain faced by the policemen will affect the common man who reaches the police station," he said.

He referred to a circular issued recently by the state police chief, containing guidelines to ease the job pressure of the police officers.

"We saw the guidelines asking them to practice yoga. When they don't have time to leave the job and spend time with the family, how are they supposed to practice yoga?" Satheesan wondered.

He asked the Chief Minister not to ignore such an important topic.

Satheesan mentioned an incident in which a senior police officer was heard shouting at his junior.

"That junior officer will take out his frustration on the common man who reaches the police station," he said.

In response, the Chief Minister listed the steps taken by the government for the welfare of the police officers.

He said 13 new police stations, 19 new cyber police stations, and four new women police stations have been set up recently.

Vijayan also noted that in the last eight years, 5,670 new posts were created in the force to reduce the workload.

After the CM's statement, Speaker A N Shamseer refused to allow the notice for adjournment motion.

Protesting against it, UDF staged a walkout.

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