Pune sees spike in suicides during the lockdown after a brief decline

The reason behind the suicides appears to be related to unemployment and financial distress, based on the evidence so far

The bodies of the nine family members were found in the houses of the siblings, one a teacher and the other a veterinarian | Representational image: iStock

A disturbing trend in suicides has been observed in Pune city over the past week. A total of eight people committed suicide in a span of less than a week, between June 18 and June 23.

Investigations are underway, and the reason behind the suicides appears to be related to unemployment and financial distress, based on the evidence so far, according to an officer from the Pune police.

The city had reported only 28 cases of suicide in April, while the number rose to 54 in May and 43 in June (until June 20).

The first incident reported this week comprised a young couple, who were found dead in their apartment along with two children aged three and six years respectively. The husband had owned a printing business, mainly printing identity cards for school and college students.


Ever since the lockdown and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were enforced, the family was facing financial issues, which appeared to be the reason behind the suicides, say primary reports.

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Another incident was reported on June 22, where a woman committed suicide by jumping from the fifth floor of a hospital building. She had lost her husband to cancer six months ago, and her 13-year-old son was suffering from kidney ailments and diabetes.

She jumped off from the same floor of the KEM hospital where her son had been admitted. Police are further looking into the sequence of events to identify the exact cause of death.

In yet another incident, a husband and wife committed suicide one after the other, within a span of a few hours. The husband was working as a security guard and was living in an outhouse. The husband had initially been found dead, and primary reports said his wife too had committed suicide later. The couple, which had gotten married a year ago, had reportedly fought before the incident.

However, contrary to the impression that the number of suicide cases has increased, Deputy Commissioner (Crime) Bacchan Singh said the numbers had actually fallen, when compared to the previous year’s cases.

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“There have been some cases of suicide during the lockdown, but if we compare with last year March (54) and April (64), a total of 118 suicide cases were registered, while in 2020 March (45) and April (28), a total of 73 cases are seen. Hence, there has been a 38% decline in suicide cases,” said Deputy Commissioner Singh when asked about the suicides.

He cited family support as one of the major reasons behind the decline in suicides in the month of April. He said family support may help fight suicidal tendencies.

Though there was a decline in suicides in April 2020, the number again saw a sharp increase between May 20 and June 20. Crime data revealed that a total of 64 suicides were reported in the last 34 days. Most of the cases are of death by hanging.

Talking about these newly reported suicides, Singh said, “The reasons for suicide vary from loneliness, depression, financial penury, loss of job, problems with relations, etc., but there is no particular trend for suicides as it depends upon the temperament of a person.”

(Please reach out to a mental health specialist if you need support or know someone who does. Helplines: AASRA: +91 98204 66726; SAHAI: 080 25497777)