MITHI: Speakers at a workshop held here on Friday attributed unabated trend of suicide in Tharis mainly to hunger, abject poverty and domestic violence.

The speakers — forming a group of teachers and students of Sindh University’s faculty of criminology — were sharing their findings after undertaking a two-day study tour of Tharparkar during which they interviewed a number of families whose near and dear ones committed suicide. They also interacted with activists of various non-governmental organisations working in social welfare sector.

Faculty director Nabi Bux Dharejo, Prof Abdul Waheed Ansari, Abdul Hameed, Wali Mohammad Mangrio, Partab Shivani and others told the workshop participants and local reporters present there that socio-economic issues appeared to be causing frustration, differences among family members, hunger, poverty, domestic violence, unhealthy practices, health issues and many other problems forcing many affected people to take the extreme action. The suicide trend also gets impetus from unhealthy content available and easily accessible on the Internet, according to them.

The speakers called for collective efforts by the departments concerned, civil society organisations and elders of society to curb the trend.

They recommended practical steps like making prompt approach to persons in distress, providing consultancy to dissuade them from harming or ending their life and continuous awareness campaigns in order to console such people and bring them out of the trauma they might have been facing. Family members of those who had already committed suicide and those going through traumatic conditions must be approached promptly and engaged in an interaction with a view to console them, they said.

Officials of the police and other departments concerned should extend their full cooperation to the people in distress as well as the activists who would bring such cases into their knowledge.

In this regard, they said, community elders and local police officials should play a vital and active role in coordination with civil society activists.

One of the speakers stressed the need for investigating each and every suicide or attempted suicide case in order to closely monitor and effectively curb the trend.

He noted that a big majority of persons who committed suicide in recent months appeared to be illiterate men and women.

Krishan Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Sahir, Imtiaz Kumbhar and several other activists also spoke at the workshop which was organised by the Young Social Reforms, Pakistan, in collaboration with the Govt Elementary College, Mithi, and the monitoring and evaluation department of Thar.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020

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