Ahmedabad: Seems like a new trend has started emerging out here in Gujarat where every other day one gets to see news of someone, somewhere attempting suicide in front of government offices in order to draw the attention of the administration and media to their problems. On one hand it makes us sit up and take notice about the issues that are plaguing the society and how the government and administration have failed the citizens, but it also gives out a wrong message that one could simply threaten with suicide to get their issues solved by the administration.

When Dalits rights activist Bhanu Vankar committed self-immolation outside the Patan collector office to draw the administration’s attention on issues faced by Dalits over allocation of land, it was taken up seriously and the government had to take steps on issues raised by Vankar. But now almost every district police station and collector office in the state is receiving scores of application from people threatening suicide if solutions to their problems are not granted. And mind you, some of the reasons and demands behind the suicide-threats are outright flimsy.

Mahesana and Patan districts are seeing maximum such applications coming to them. A Mahesna police official informs that their station receives about 50 applications every day, and some of the reasons have no connections with the government of administration. Two examples he mentioned were one where the applicant threatened to commit suicide because his neighbour had built a toilet outside his house and another being where a youth demanded the police to bring back his wife who left him after a fight and if they didn't, he would commit suicide outside Mahesana collector's office.

The larger problem here is that upon receiving such applications, the administrations have to rush their men to find the applicant first, who most of the times go into hiding after sending their threats. When they're unable to find them, the police have to send their constables outside the government offices and buildings where the applicant would come to make the suicide attempt. So instead of the scores of government officials’ concentrating on their actual work, they're made to run around and catch hold of applicants from committing suicide. And because there is no such provision where the ones threatening with suicide can be prosecuted, they are just detained and have to be released after some time.