suicide by hanging
Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam central jails were the only prisons that had gallows before Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated. [Representational Image].Reuters File

Christians in India have the highest suicide rate at 17.4, while Sikhs have the lowest at 4.1, as reported by the Indian Express, citing data provided through an RTI application released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

In this context, rate refers to the number of suicides per one lakh population. The data is based on religion- and caste-wise suicides as reported in 2014. The NCRB gathered data on suicides based on religion and caste groups for the first time in 2014. Data for 2015 was not yet available. 

Suicide rate among Hindus and Muslims stood at 11.3 and 7, respectively. The national average stands at 10.6. 

Among caste groups, Scheduled Tribes have the highest suicide rate at 10.4, followed by Dalits at 9.4, according to the data. Although the "general" category has a higher rate (13.6), it includes suicides by those from all other religions as well. 

 

 

Some key highlights of the data:

According to the 2011 Census data, Christians make up 2.3 per cent of India's population, but their share in suicides is 3.7 percent. That virtually translates into a gap of over 60 percent between Christian representation in the national population and in suicides.

Hindus, too, have a greater share among suicides (83 percent) than their representation in the population (79.8 percent).

The percentage of suicides among Muslims is much lower (9.2) compared to their share in population (14.2 percent).

While the rate of suicides among SCs and STs hover around 10, which is close to the national average, the rate among other backward castes (OBC) stands at 9.2 percent – based on the National Sample Survey's numbers, their share in population is approximately 40.2 percent. The Home Ministry, incidentally, is yet to release figures of the caste census conducted in 2011.

World renowned sociologist Emile Durkheim's argued that suicide is not an individual act. He suggested that suicide was a social fact tied to social structures. He defined suicide as a social fact because it was something that happened driven by social causes, however hidden they were.