Crimes will rise, govt must introduce rehabilitation policy for people who lost livelihoods: Psychiatrists

Police said there has been a slight rise in petty crimes after the lockdown.

THE ARREST of Harjot Singh, 34, who had lost his job during lockdown, in connection with a daylight bank robbery, has raised various concerns. Psychiatrists said such incidents are a result of Post Traumatic Stress Growth and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD).

Police said there has been a slight rise in petty crimes after the lockdown.

Dr Roshan Lal, associate professor with PU’s psychiatry department, was engaged by the UT police for the counselling of distressed people during the lockdown, said, “When the pandemic was at its peak and lockdown was introduced, it was evident that severe post Covid-19 impact on social life will emerge when it gets over. Involvement of an addict, Harjot Singh, who had lost his job in the lockdown, is not an isolated case. There must be numerous cases of people who had lost their livelihoods during the pandemic being caught for committing crimes. Such incidents are the result of Post Traumatic Stress Growth and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). Such incidents will increase in the near future. Government should introduce a policy of rehabilitation for people who lost their livelihoods.”

Prof Ritu Sekhri of the psychology department of Post Graduate Government College for Women-11, said, “There will be long standing impacts of the around six months long lockdown on our society. I will say the man arrested for the robbery somehow managed to survive the severe lockdown but failed to cope with the situation when everything got open. As the man had no previous criminal background, it is very tough to understand how such a man can rob a bank in broad daylight.”

Harjot Singh, 34, of Phase-3A in Mohali, was arrested for robbing Rs 8.65 lakh from the Chandigarh State Co-Operative Bank in Sector 61. He is in two days’ police custody. A police officer, who interrogated him, said, “Harjot consumed three to four bottles of cough syrup everyday. The four bottles cost him Rs 1,400. We learnt through his interrogation that for the next six months after losing his job, he procured the drugs from his saving. But later, he had no money. His family members were aware about his addiction. They were not giving him money for the drugs. He has been once under medication but again starts taking drugs. He confessed that he robbed the money for fulfilling his drug needs. He claimed that even he was not aware that he would be robbing so much cash.”

Harjot’s wife is a staff nurse with a leading hospital in Mohali. His father and grandfather are retired government employees of the state government. Harjot Singh was arrested by a team of SHO PS 36, Inspector Maninder Singh. Sources said Harjot Singh was given medicine by government doctors to treat his addiction.

38 suicides between March and November last year

A total 38 people including 15 men, 9 women, one male youth and three girls ended their lives between March 24 and November 30, 2020. As per police records, all victims were below 45 years of age. Thirteen out of 38 were working with private companies, six were out of job, five were housewives, one was a senior bank officer and four were students. On October 18, Yashika, 20, of Maloya died by suicide at her house. She was a second year student of BA pursuing through correspondent. The victim had left a suicide note mentioning her economically backward background and held herself responsible. Family members of the victim had informed police that Yashika had lost her job in a showroom in Mohali during the lockdown.

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