Amid its fight against the pandemic in 2020, India lost more people to suicide than Covid-19, as per the latest report by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The country reported more than 1.53 lakh suicides last year — highest in the last 10 years, according to the NCRB. The coronavirus infection, on the other hand, killed close to 1.49 lakh people in 2020, as per data from the union health ministry.
While illness was the most attributed cause behind suicide, daily wage workers made up the largest share of total suicides, shows NCRB data. A total of 37,666 daily wage workers died by suicide in 2020 — accounting for one-fourth of total suicides.
Daily wage workers were among those most impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown. They not only lost their source of income in big cities where they were living, but also faced hardship in meeting their families back home as all modes of transport were halted for more than a month during the nationwide lockdown.
Illness was the most attributed cause, contributing to 18 per cent (27,623) of total suicides. It is also important to note that while the cause of nearly 16,000 suicides were unknown, another 15,000 were put under the “other causes” as per the report released last week.
In terms of gender, more men killed themselves, accounting for nearly 71 per cent of total suicides. While nearly 45,000 women died by suicide, more than one lakh men killed themselves. Out of the total number, 22 were transgenders.
Further, among total women who died by suicide, 50 per cent (or 22,372) were homemakers, the data shows. Homemakers accounted for close to 15 per cent of total suicides.
At least 12,526 students died by suicide accounting for over 8 per cent of total deaths, and 10,677 people engaged in the farming sector also ended their own life, the NCRB data shows.
Several celebrities died by suicide
A number of celebrities, including actor Sushant Singh Rajput, died by suicide in 2020. The 34-year-old actor was found dead in June at his Bandra apartment in Mumbai. The list of celebrities also included actor Samir Sharma, who was known for his roles in television shows Jyoti and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii. The 44-year-old was found hanging at his Mumbai residence in August 2020.
Just weeks before Rajput’s death, television actor Preksha Mehta was found dead in her residence. She had hanged herself from the ceiling fan. The 25-year-old was featured in shows like Crime Patrol, Meri Durga and Laal Ishq. In January 2020, actress Sejal Sharma, who had worked in Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji, was found dead at her rented flat in Mira Road, Mumbai.