The historic Hussain Sagar in the heart of Hyderabad, a dumping ground lately for industrial affluents, has acquired new infamy. The lake is now a favourite haunt in the city of people seeking to commit suicide.
Last week, over Thursday and Friday, Lake Police rescued seven persons — four women, one of them five months pregnant, a man and two children — from drowning in the lake. All the women said they were tired of living with their alcoholic husbands and had come to the lake with their children to die. Lake Police handed over the women to their relatives after counseling them.
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This year, Lake Police has rescued 95 people so far during suicide bids, while another 30 drowned before they could be saved. In 2014, 50 people had committed suicide in the lake and 83 were rescued, while in 2013, the deaths numbered 49.
Built in 1562 by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali, the lake has become so polluted that the Telangana government is considering emptying and desilting, and has sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the clean-up.
On May 10, a Telugu TV actress attempted suicide here, jumping into the Hussain Sagar lake. A patrol officer who had spotted her walking along the lake bank and recognised her, jumped in to save her.
“The 28-year-old said she was frustrated that her parents were opposing her affair with another TV actor and were forcing her to marry elsewhere… We offered counselling and first aid and sent her to a hospital,” officials said.
Two days earlier, the Lake Police had rescued a 19-year-old first year B.Tech student who tried to commit suicide saying her alcoholic father may not be able to afford to pay her college fees.
“The number of women coming to the lake with the intention of committing suicide is quite high. They often bring young children along with them,” Inspector T Sreedevi says. The Hyderabad Police has now increased staff strength from 22 to 37 at the Lake Police Station.