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Nandigram Killings Lead to Depression Among Many

Nine-year-old Gargi Mukherjee might not live in Nandigram. But she suddenly fell ill the day 14 people were killed in the East Midnapore constituency// of West Bengal following police firing.

Gargi (name changed) stopped taking food and slipped into depression after viewing the heart-rending scenes of the violence at Nandigram on television.

When she was taken for counselling, the psychiatrist said: "She is severely traumatised and suffering from fear psychosis after watching the images of mayhem on television."

The images cast a profound impact on her tender mind, he said.

Gargi's is not the only such case. Many others are coming for psychological counselling after watching the scenes of death and violence at Nandigram, where protests against land acquisition for industry turned into a tragedy.

"It is a very socially disturbing event. The whole episode might have happened in a single locality but it had an intense impact on the society. The magnitude of the ruthlessness is now haunting many people even in Kolkata," said one of the city's consultant psychiatrists, Siladitya Roy.

He said a man who had a cousin living in Nandigram came to him for counselling.

"That person came from Mograhat in South 24-Parganas, an adjoining district of Kolkata. He was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) leading to insomnia and serious loss of appetite," Roy told IANS.

"Later I came to know from his family members that he has some relatives in Nandigram, and after the police firing he became anxious about their well-being.

"But as the trouble continues in Nandigram, he fell psychologically ill. We term it medically as shell shock," he said.

Explaining the symptoms, Roy said psychological problems generally lead to hypertension, diabetes, headache, physical weakness, gastro intestinal problems and loss of appetite in the huma n body.

Other city-based psychologists have the same view.

"Common people feel stressed after seeing the incident on television. Many cases of psychological disorders have been due to reactions after watching the news," said psychologist Priyanka Bhattacharya.

"But unfortunately, most people in West Bengal are not aware of the need for psychological counselling. I am sure people living in Nandigram must be suffering from serious stress. But they are unable to get proper psychological treatment there," Bhattacharya said.

According to her, the policemen who were sent March 14 to quell the angry villagers protesting against farmland takeover for industry were also victims of stress and trauma.

"It's the police who carried out the orders of the government. Perhaps they had fired on the villagers going against their own conscience," she said.

West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia, however, has a different story to tell on the stress factor among policemen deployed at Nandigram.

"This kind of situation definitely leads to stress among police personnel. But we train our officials by teaching them behavioural science and make them physically as well as mentally fit to tackle any situation," Kanojia told IANS.

"At any point of time policemen are fit enough to handle such pressures," he said.


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