Officials in small rural village of Badi, district of Khargone in Madhya Pradesh state in India are launching full investigations over high suicide rates in the last two decades. The youngest, according to authorities who attempted to take his own life was 11 years old.
Village official Ashok Verma has established a board to help resolve the unknown reasons of suicide cases. He said: ‘This is a very grave situation and we need to act fast. The villagers lack confidence and motivation and it’s very important to counsel them.’
Badi village has 2,500 residents but in the last two decades, 350 suicides were recorded. “In the first three months of this year, 80 Badi villagers have killed themselves,” said Khargone SP Amit Singh.
Rajendra Sisodiya becomes the newly appointed sarpanch of Badi village after the death of his cousin Jeevan, the elected village head who did suicide through hanging. “There are 320 families in our village and at least one person from each has killed himself or herself,” said Sisodiya.
The villagers attributed the flood of suicides to demonic presence in the village. Locals have struggled in vain to stop the self-destruction binge. Earlier this year, a boy was forced to marry a dog to ward off the evil existence.
However, although experts try not to downgrade the beliefs in the village, they offer another possible explanations to the tragic incidents.
According to Indore-based psychiatrist Srikanth Reddy, the suicides were possibly triggered by o depression and schizophrenic episodes brought about by economic factor. Most residents of the village are farmers and depend on cash crop like cotton. When their farming fails, they suffer financial anguish. The socio-economic drawback causes depressions among the farmers.
Apart from financial distress, Reddy added that another contributing factor to depression is the excessive use of pesticides which contained organophosphate. The substance is highly toxic and instigates depressive mental conditions. The psychiatrist cited the study conducted by World Health Organization in China to investigate the same suicide phenomenon .