The suicide rate among Dalits in Gujarat and Tripura is nearly 1½ times the overall suicide rate in each state.
This emerges from government data collected on suicides across the country based on caste and religion. The data, collected by NCRB in 2014 but never published, were accessed by The Indian Express through RTI. They show the average suicide rate in Gujarat is 11.7 per lakh population, and that for Dalits in the state is 18.7. In Tripura, against the state average of 20.3, Dalits had a rate of 31.8.
Among other aspects thrown by the data, Kerala’s suicide rate among tribals is twice the state’s overall rate. Among religious groups, the highest suicide rate among Christians is in Bengal, Chhattisgarh and undivided Andhra, among Muslims in Odisha, Tripura and Chhattisgarh, and among Hindus in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa.
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In Punjab, which has a dense Dalit population, the suicide rate among SCs (3.4) is close to the state average (3.3). But Chandigarh has a huge gap with an SC rate of 23.6 against the UT’s average of 6.3.
Kerala, which has a state average suicide rate of 23.9, has a suicide rate of 47.6 among tribals. Sikkim, which has a very high population of tribals (33.8%), also has a high suicide rate among SCs at 35.9 but it is still lower than the state average of 38.4.
The breakup by religious group shows that in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the rate of suicide among Christians is far higher than the overall rate in each state. Among Muslims, suicide rates are higher than the state average in Odisha and Tripura, and among Hindus, higher than the average in Kerala and Goa.
If Union territories and smaller states are left out, the highest rate of suicide among Christians is in West Bengal at 41.8. The state’s average suicide rate is 15.5, while the national Christian suicide rate is 17.4, making the Christian suicide rate in West Bengal more than twice the national average for Christians and almost thrice the state average for all suicides. Karnataka’s Christian suicide rate of 24.9, too, is far higher than the state average of 17.8.
Among states with a significant population of Christians, Tamil Nadu has a Christian suicide rate of 27.5 as against the state average of 23.4. Kerala, which has the highest Christian population at over 18%, records a Christian suicide rate (25.2) marginally higher than the state average (23.9).
Muslims have among the lowest suicide rates in the country at 7. Yet in states such as Odisha, where the overall rate is 9.9, the Muslim suicide rate at 36 is several times higher than both averages. All states with high Muslim population have lower suicide rates for the community.
Hindus come across as most vulnerable communities in Kerala and Goa. In Kerala, the suicide rate of 33.4 as against the state average of 23.9. In Goa, Hindus show a suicide rate of 21.7 to the state average of 15.1.