Suicides: Act promptly on soldiers’ leave applications, says Antony

September 6th, 2012 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sept 6 (IANS) Against the backdrop of a spate of recent suicides by soldiers, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday asked the armed forces to be more liberal with their requests for leave and respond promptly.

Antony held a meeting with the vice chiefs of the three services to find ways to help reduce the stress among soldiers and to prevent such tragedies. The meeting was also attended by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and Additional Secretary Shankar Agarwal.

The meeting resulted in a slew of recommendations with suggestions to the three services to act promptly on leave requests by soldiers. The railway authorities have been also asked to provide more seats for soldiers going on leave, said the sources.

It was decided that the Defence Institute of Psychological Research will look into causes of stress and stress-related disorders among officers, said the sources.

Antony also instructed to take steps to sensitise district collectors and superintendents of police to look into issues related to stress among armed forces personnel and their families, said the sources.

Replying to a question in parliament recently, Antony had said a stand-off between officers and soldiers of an armoured unit had taken place on Aug 8 after the suicide of a soldier.

He had also said that over 25,000 soldiers had prematurely quit the force in last three years.

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