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Millennium Post

Heart ailments, depression proving greater adversaries than Maoists

Jawans working for the country’s largest paramilitary force - CRPF - are plagued with various ailments. An internal assessment has revealed that increasing number of heart ailments, malaria, suicide and other diseases have killed more personnel as compared to deaths in Maoists attacks in last half decade.

The startling revelation came after an internal assessment of paramilitary forces whose report has already been sent to the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and all the state governments. The report claimed that heart attack and cardiac illness have claimed the maximum number of lives of CRPF men and women. “Total 614 personnel have died between 2009 and 2014 due to heart related diseases,” report reads.

Beside, health aliments, the report has highlighted that ‘hard and harsh’ working conditions in the force have led to ‘adverse bearing’ on the physical and mental state of CRPF officers and personnel. “Social ostracization and staying away from family and children is making them lonely,” the report reads, which has been prepared to meet the challenges being faced by the jawans.

Also, in last five years, more than 3,000 CRPF personnel died due to diseases and non-operational tasks. In the same years (2009-14), 252 personnel were killed while combating on field. The other major medical causes which claimed the lives of CRPF jawans are suicides (207 cases), cancer (231 cases), malaria (102) and HIV/AIDS (153 cases). This was the same time the force saw maximum operational action in various Naxal violence affected states of the country.

Among the other causes of death in service for these men and women were fratricide (36 cases), tuberculosis (33 cases) while 1,544 troops died due to other reasons like hepatitis, jaundice, brain haemorrhage, renal failure, heat stroke, accidents and a variety of idiopathic illnesses. The report also highlighted that Jawans are forced to live in sub-human conditions, which led 102 malarial deaths and 8,282 malaria cases in last five years.

“On an average, CRPF personnel have to work for 12-14 hours a day without any compensation for working beyond the standard limit of 8 hours; more than 80 per cent of CRPF personnel cannot avail holidays and Sundays; constant deployment and frequent movements have adversely affected the physical training and well being of the force personnel. This has resulted in adverse bearing on the physical and mental state of officers and men,”  the report reads.

“Total number of peace posting locations are available to less than 20 per cent of the force personnel only, as a result, 80 per cent men have to be transferred from one operational theatre to another. The accommodation provided by the state authority is generally temporary and mostly unsatisfactory without even basic facilities like running water, electricity, toilets etc,” it says.

Nearly, 80-85 per cent troops remain continuously deployed to fight Maoists in 10 affected states (37 per cent), militancy in Jammu and Kashmir (28 per cent) and insurgency in northeast (16 per cent), it further highlighted.
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