An Indian Air Force officer, identified as Wing Commander Arvind Sinha, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with a double barrel gun in his official quarters at the Air Force Colony in Prayagraj on Tuesday. The incident took place at around 8 am. Arvind Sinha was the Central Air Command Public Relations Officer (PRO). Sinha fired a bullet in the neck. The reason behind the suicide is not clear yet, sources said.
However, it is suspected that the 44-year-old officer committed suicide because of some family reasons. No suicide note was recovered by the police.
Arvind Sinha, son of Ashok Kumar Sinha, was originally from Rajendra Nagar area of Patna. He is survived by his wife Pooja, sons Akshay and Arjun. The Dhumanjanj police forensic team is investiagating the case.
The number of defence personnel committing suicide was highest in the Army amongst the three services in the last three years. In 2018 alone, as many as 80 Army personnel are believed to have committed suicide. This number is 16 for Air Force and 08 for the Navy, as per the latest data released by the Minstry of Defence.
In 2017, the number of Army men who are suspected to have committed suicide was 75, while in 2016 this number was 104. In the Air Force, the number of suspected suicides was 21 in 2017 and 19 in 2016. For the Navy, these numbers were 5 and 6 for 2017 and 2016, respectively.
In view of this growing suicide trend, the Defence Ministry said that various steps have been taken by the armed forces to create healthy environment for their officers and other ranks.
"Some of the steps include provision of better facilities such as clothing, food, married accommodation, travel facilities, schooling, recreation etc. and periodic welfare meetings, promoting yoga and meditation as a tool for stress management, and training and deployment of psychological counsellors," the statement by the ministry read.
It added mental health awareness is provided during pre-induction training. A helpline has also been established by the Army and the Air Force to provide professional counselling.