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Thursday, December 02, 2021

To prevent stress, CRPF plans ‘chaupals’ for its men to talk

In a note circulated to all its zonal headquarters, the CRPF said that several global studies have shown that people think of killing themselves when they find themselves unable to share their thoughts with others.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
Updated: November 10, 2021 7:43:06 am
Home Minister Amit Shah at a CRPF camp in Pulwama, Kashmir, last month. (PTI)

Alarmed at the increasing numbers of suicides in the CRPF, the force has decided to promote a culture of talking and greater interaction at its camps so as to prevent the build-up of stress that might drive some personnel towards taking the extreme step in despair.

In a note circulated to all its zonal headquarters, the CRPF leadership has directed that a system of weekly “chaupals” should be put in place, during which a group of personnel drawn from all ranks would interact with one another on a range of issues other than those concerning their work.

“A force like the CRPF is predominantly made up of men. Socially, men are assumed to be ‘strong’, and they are not expected to cry or be emotional,” said the note issued on October 12. “To conform to this societal image, male personnel often do not share their worries even with their comrades, and keep them bottled up within.” The note laid down guidelines for the functioning of the chaupals:

  • Once or twice a week, 18-20 personnel will sit in chairs in a circle outdoors, perhaps under a tree. The chaupal, which shall be planned beforehand, will be attended by personnel of all ranks, all of whom will be in civilian clothes. Company, platoon, or section commanders must necessarily be part of the chaupal “group sharing exercise”.
  • The chaupal will be of 1-2 hours’ duration, during which participants will not have access to their phones. “There will be no discussion of official or operational issues. Discussions will be entirely informal so that an atmosphere may be created in which every participant is able to talk about any domestic or personal issue without any hesitation,” the note said. “It must be ensured that no one laughs at or makes fun of anyone else; rather every person is encouraged to speak freely,” it said.

The note said that several global studies have shown that people think of killing themselves when they find themselves unable to share their thoughts with others. “If they get a chance to share or discuss their feelings or their current state of mind, there is a possibility that such thoughts can be controlled,” it said.

An CRPF officer said domestic problems, illness, and financial problems are some of key factors behind the suicides.

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