Indo-Asian News Service
Bhopal, May 12, 2005
A survey among policemen in the Madhya Pradesh capital reveals a sad story of overwork, poor pay and unfulfilled aspirations that has driven 15 per cent of them to mental illness.
Mentally ill? Reserve Inspector Chauhan beats up a demonstrator during the survivors’ attempt to begin a clean-up of the Union Carbide factory, 25th November 2002. He didn’t know he was being secretly filmed. The Chief Minister later issued an apology for the brutal behaviour of the police, but unprovoked brutality is what survivors asking for their rights have come to expect over the years.
Another 51 per cent are on the verge of being psychologically disturbed, says the “Psychiatric Morbidity in Police Professionals” survey conducted by two students of the Bhopal School of Social Science.
The students, Ruchi Prasad and Roshan J Mathew, interviewed over 1,000 police personnel, ranging from the rank of constable to deputy superintendent of police, from December 2004 to April 2005.
The study said only 35 per cent of the police personnel in the state capital were mentally and physically fit, while the rest were already mentally ill or were on the verge of becoming mentally ill.
The research students also tried to analyse the reasons for this.
According to them, the schedule of policemen is hectic and they were putting in more work hours than their body and mind could tolerate.
There are around 3,200 policemen, including officers, in Bhopal – much lower compared to other state capitals of the country.
Also, many policemen felt their aspirations at the time of joining the force had remained unfulfilled even after many years of service, the study said.
Poor financial conditions, delays in promotions and pressure exerted especially on those in junior categories of the force were also contributory factors.
The research suggested that policemen spare some time meditating. It also said they should try to develop a positive attitude towards life and do yoga.
Bhopal’s police chief Pawan Shrivastava said, “There is a strong and urgent need for introducing psychological tests in the police force just as they are mandatory in the defence forces.”
He said Bhopal police personnel were being given lessons in stress management, relaxation and yoga.
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