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Kolkata policeman shootout: Initiative to identify cops suffering from depression

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Kolkata, June 15 (Ajit Weekly News) Realising that police personnel suffering from acute mental depression posted in sensitive duties with firearms can prove fatal, the top brass of Kolkata Police has decided to prepare a list of personnel and officers who have reported symptoms of mental anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue in the recent past.

The initiative has been mooted after Chodup Lepcha, a constable of armed police division posted at the guard outpost kiosk in front of the office of Bangladesh Deputy High Commission near the busy Park Circus crossing in central Kolkata, fired indiscriminately in the open street from his service self-loading rifle (SLR) on June 10. A woman was killed in the firing and two others were injured and finally Lepcha committed suicide.

The incident attracted sharp criticisms as questions erupted from several quarters on why Lepcha, who had been reportedly suffering from acute-encounter phobia was granted such a sensitive duty in front of a foreign mission office and that too with firearms.

Sources from the city police said that the Kolkata Police Commissioner, Vineet Kumar Goyal, has instructed all unit heads to submit a list a such policemen and officers who have reported symptoms of mental anxiety, depression and even stress and fatigue to the office of joint commissioner (headquarter), Subhankar Sinha Sarkar by June 20. After the final list is submitted, the city police authorities will take appropriate measures on this count.

A senior official of the city police said that in such cases generally cops suffering from anxiety and depression have to undergo a thorough check-up under a psychiatrist. “Depending on the seriousness of the matter, either the concerned policeman is sent on a medical leave for treatment or is assigned any lesser sensitive duty that involves lesser stress. In majority cases, they recover soon from the depression stage and perform regular duties,” he said.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the family of Lepcha will not receive any other benefit other than his accumulated provident fund. The worst loss will be an amount of Rs 32 lakhs of insurance for policemen dying before retirement from services. However, this benefit is only applicable to those policemen who are confirmed after completing service of three years. However, Lepcha committed suicide just after a year of his service.

–Ajit Weekly News


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