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Kerala government today said an official team, headed by a minister A K Balan, would visit nearby Palode, where 45 tribals committed suicide since 2012, to take stock of the situation and steps would be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents. "I will lead an official team to the area and take stock of the situation. The government will take steps to end such incidents, which are unprecedented and sorrowful, after finding out the reasons behind it," the minister said. He was replying to a submission on the matter moved by Opposition leader in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala. The minister said 189 persons had committed suicide at Jaraneeli and Peringamala tribal area in the district since 2012.
Of this, 27 were tribals and seven Scheduled Castes. "This is a serious issue and government will look into it',he said,adding it was unfortunate that such a grave matter had not come to the notice of successive governments till now. A comprehensive study would be conducted on the health aspect of the population of the area, including tribals and a survey on mental health also would be done, he said. The anti-drug abuse campaign under the government programme 'Mukthi' would be held at the area, he said. Balan pointed out that number of suicides in the district was also on the increase in the recent years. Similarly, suicide rate at nearby Kollam district was also on rise. 'We have to find out the reasons for it', he added. Taking up the matter, Chennithala, who visited the affected areas yesterday, alleged that police had taken not taken the series of suicides seriously. Family problem, alcoholism and social issues were some reasons cited by police in registers as the cause of suicides, he pointed out. He also alleged that police had not followed guidelines and procedures of autopsy on the bodies. "The tragedy becomes grave as most of those who committed sucides are young men and women. We have to hang our heads in shame as the matter went unnotices during these years",he said and sought effective government intervention. The issue was taken up in the house yesterday by former Minister A P Anilkumr (Cong) who said that series of suicides in the area came to light after an inquiry into the alleged suicide of degree girl student last week.
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