Rajkot is the official suicide capital of Gujarat. With suicide rate of 28 (number of suicides per lakh inhabitants as per mid-year population estimates), it shares third spot jointly with Chennai. Only two newly-introduced cities this year by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) — Kollam in Kerala and Durg Bhilai in Chhattisgarh — are ahead of the cities with rate of 39.3 and 33.6 respectively. Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh ranks close fifth with rate of 27.7.
Rajkot, considered the industrial hub for Saurashtra, ranks consistently amongst top 5 cities with high suicide rates for past five years in NCRB’s annual publication Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI). However, there is silver lining to the fact. As per the latest findings, the rate has come down over the period of time from 41.5 per cent in 2010 to 28 in 2011. The number of suicides has partially increased with increase in population as compared to 385 suicides in 2010; the number has risen to 390.
Sociologists see it as a cultural trend. “Saurashtra traditionally reports high number of suicides due to family disputes and disrepute of a person . Community issues also matter a lot in close-knit society.
Rajkot city however goes through paradigm shift due to influx of labourers from other parts of the district and state that have to assimilate in the existing culture. The region also has almost equal number of suicide victims in males and females,” said Gaurang Jani, a city-based sociologist.
As per NCRB data, the frequent cause for suicide in Rajkot is unemployment as more than 200 of the total victims were having education below higher secondary level (class XII).