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Teenager commits suicide in Kashmir

Srinagar, March 12, 2008:

A 13-year-old boy committed suicide on Wednesday in Indian administered Kashmir, police said.

Zainul Abidin of Ahgam Zachaldara is said to have consumed some poisonous substance at home.

However, the teenager died while on way to hospital.

No immediate reason has been found behind suicide.

In 2007, a study at the Government Hospital for Psychiatric Diseases in Srinagar found that the rate of suicides in Kashmir was 15 to 20 per 100,000 people, a rate that is much higher in comparison to the Muslim world.

Suicides are considered a sin in Islam, and Muslims are forbidden to offer funerals of people having committed suicide.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics for 2005, the rate of suicides in Muslim world is 0.1 to 0.2 per 100,000 people.

WHO has attributed low rate of suicides to strong religious beliefs in these societies.

Earlier a study on suicides in 1980 carried out by National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore found the lowest suicide rate 0.5 per 100,000 in Kashmir in entire India.

Psychologists argue that the failure of coping strategies increases suicidal tendencies and the stressful conditions act as a catalyst for the suicides.

Unemployment, failure in love, marital discord and other domestic reasons are generally cited as the reasons behind suicides.

However the unrest and violence in Kashmir valley for a sustained period of 18 years too is believed to contribute towards decreasing the levels of tolerance among human beings.

Sociologists argue that though violence may not be directly responsible for suicides in Kashmir but it does create a situation whereby a person might contemplate in terms of putting an end to his or her life.

The trend of suicides and fratricides is also prevalent among the troops deployed in the region.

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