18 CRPF personnel killed in fratricide incidents since 2018: Officials

New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) The recent fratricide killing in Chhattisgarh has prompted the world’s largest paramilitary force, CRPF, to again ask its formations to check mental and emotional stress among the troops, officials said on Tuesday.

The fresh advisory comes a day after a jawan killed four of his colleagues by spraying bullets on them at a camp in Chhattisgarh’s Naxal violence affected Sukma district, taking the number of deaths to 18 in 13 fratricide incidents since 2018.

The guidelines and measures to ensure and check mental and emotional stress among the troops have been “reiterated”, they said.

Six of these fatalities have taken place this year in five incidents in the force, which has about 95 percent of its total strength on operational duties at any given point of time, they said.

CRPF director general (DG) and other senior officers are travelling to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation in the wake of the Sukma incident on Monday.

After the incident, a CRPF spokesperson had said that “prima facie, it seems that due to some emotional stress leading to sudden psychological disbalance, constable Reetesh Ranjan lost his control and in a fit of rage opened fire on his colleagues.”

The paramilitary force, which has about 3.25 lakh personnel in its ranks and is the mainstay for internal security in the country, has recently issued a communication to all its formations to identify personnel who are either under depression or are stressed, and undertake appropriate counselling for them to curb suicide and fratricide like incidents.

According to official data, a total of 193 suicides have been reported in the force since 2018, with 52 incidents being registered this year alone.