Patna: Balbir Singh, the 32-year-old Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawan who shot dead four fellow-soldiers with his service rifle on Thursday in Bihar’s Aurangabad district, was a manic depressive undergoing psychiatric treatment for some time now, documents have revealed.
In a severe indictment of how the CISF may have either ignored or left his medical condition unattended, his mother at her Raupur village home in Aligarh said “everyone knew he was unstable”. Friends and neighbours said the father of two — son Vishal is 10, Sagar is 8 — was a ticking bomb ready to go off.
This flies in the face of the CISF’s assertion that Singh killed the four men — Bacha Sharma, Amarnath Mishra (both head constables), GS Ram (assistant sub inspector) and Arvind Ram (havildar) – in a fit of rage, upset that he was denied leave.
Balbir’s condition was so severe that during an angry outburst sometime in 2011 in Bokaro – his second posting with the CISF — he nearly killed the driver of a car he was travelling in. “He suddenly held the driver’s neck and it was impossible to free the poor man, who nearly suffocated to death,” a relative said. “Sher Singh, Balbir’s elder brother who was travelling with him, had to bite his sibling’s ear to force him to let go.”
Then in 2013, in a murderous assault on his own wife, he hit her with the butt of his service rifle, splitting open her head. The constable had joined the CISF in 2008. His mother Saroj Devi said problems started soon after, “perhaps in 2010.”
“Woh bimar tha (he was sick),” Saroj Devi said, sitting on the cold mud floor of their sparse house in Aligarh. “My son Sher Singh had informed Balbir’s unit about his condition and advised them not to give him any firearms. Someone should have listened (to that). This would not have happened.” His younger brother Vinod, too, said the family had told “seniors in CISF” about this, pleading with them to grant him leave for treatment.
All that the CISF seems to have done is get Balbir to go through a yoga course (in Rajasthan from November 10 to Dec 31), one of several measures introduced by the country’s military and paramilitary forces to relieve stress in soldiers, which many attribute to long periods of separation from families, posting in hostile areas and hard living and working conditions.
According to sources in the hospital, Balbir was earlier being treated at a Jharkhand hospital. “He had anger issues,” said sources privy to his medical condition.
CISF PRO Manjeet Singh said they have no record of Balbir’s illness, “as he never underwent any treatment at a CISF hospital”. He, however, revealed that Balbir had been punished once for overstaying his leave in 2010. Singh also denied that the CISF had been informed about his depression or other medical issues by his family. “He (Balbir) had no record of misconduct except overstaying leave in 2010. Nothing unusual was observed about him.”