Sunday, October 05, 2008

The damning note!

First of all let me say that my heartfelt sympathies are with this family.

Secondly I have to say that I am getting more and more concerned with suicide notes! There is an increasing trend to blame someone for suicide and invariably that person get arrested without even an investigation. If newspapers are to be believed, a death note or statement before death is infallible (not verified if true). This makes anyone vulnerable to people with chronic depression who may kill themselves under the mistaken assumption that someone was the reason for their depression.

Why I am expressing concern is because of two incidents that happened with people I know. First was my senior in college who has a small design studio. When she sacked one of her employees, he attempted suicide leaving a note blaming her. Luckily he survived and it did not become a police case as his parents never saw the suicide note. And bribing the hospital staff ensured that the case was admitted as accidental poisoning. I will never forget the trauma my friend went through. All she did was fire him because of complaints from female staff of inappropriate behavior and two warnings that he failed to heed. If the suicide note was discovered then she would be in jail now charged with abetting the suicide. I am told there are thousands of people in jail for the same.

The other instance happened with my best friend. There was this boy from an uptown college who used to hang around our college gates and follow her around while we girls went shopping or to eat. Our first method of getting such people off our backs is ignoring them. We ignored him for some time as he kept his distance. But he kept hanging around college and following her around. Fed up she told my brother and he confronted him and warned him to stay away. This guy also made a weak attempt at suicide blaming my brother as the reason! Luckily his parents were reasonable people and understood the situation. But the situation scared me and I am forever wary of guys now. And I am not alone. Amongst my college mates there are instances of girls who have married guys under threat of suicide notes!!! And many have had the experience that my friend have had.

I remember a cartoon that came as a forward in which a girl is shown trying to stop a car. A bubble above her head reads: “Stop or I cry rape!!” Apparently this cartoon came out after Rape laws were modified and made more stringent. The suicides situation is similar now. Many people do not do this on purpose. Suicide is I guess a result of depression. But how many depressed people can analyze this. They naturally blame the last incident that pushed them over the edge. And the last incident could be a romantic interest who didn’t return your affection, or her family or an employer who gave you the pink slip.

It is high time we modified our laws so that such suicide notes and last statements are investigated. Or as is the case in Karnataka, many people will be rotting in jail due to an outdated law* that states that a depressed person’s last word is literally the last word in the case.



christina said...

i agree to u.... most of the people who commit suicide leave notes saying someone else is responsible just to make that persons life miserable....
trust me i know..

Ashish Gupta said...

Very interesting and unique point of view. Our desire to sympathize with supposed victims often puts blame on wrong people through suicide laws (also observed in dowry harassment laws) without proper investigation.

Mind Curry said...

by default, people think its always the best and safest bet to play victim in any situation. it is true to an extent and one cant get away by doing that. in both the cases you mentioned, the accused got away with their "crime" by ending up as the victime. just my random thought, not based on any research :)

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

In general, our police could do with someone informing them that its first necessary to investigate before the arrest :p Especially with issues that catch media attention, our police are eager to throw a scapegoat behind bars to mollify the irate public.

Praveen said...

Until I read this post, I was strongly praying for the accused managers in that nokia suicide case to be punished. But now I've started thinking about it from a whole new angle. The incidents you mentioned are actually scary. I just can't imagine facing such a situation. Really, how many lives might have been ruined by such suicide notes..:(

kumar said...

real touchy issue there...i know cos recently one of my neighbors committed suicide when some money lender came to his house and asked him to clear the loan...the poor guy got thrashed badly and had to be jailed for asking his money back...scaryyy

Ms Cris said...

Really? I mean suicide notes are taken at face value? And people claimed to have caused this would be arrested without any further investigation? Thats incredible! Someone could fake a suicide, write a note against someone else and sit at home happily knowing the other would be taken care of?! Thats pretty scary!

DD said...

Arent suicide notes just supposed to be "circumstantial evidence" (or whatever)? Or are they taken at face value without verification of facts and the related people just prosecuted? That brings me on another thought - if someone commits suicide, why should someone else be punished? Is the person driving someone to suicide also punishable?
Maybe I am asking too many questions that can be answered only by a real lawyer :)

silverine said...

Christina: That is so unfair, but then I blame the law for it.

Ashish: You are right. Most people sympathize with the "victim". However who is the victim and who is the victimiser no one knows till you investigate. Which never happens as the suicide note is I heard infallible ( not verified by a lawyers)

Mind Curry: Good point!

Karthik: Yes the Aarushi incident was proof of that!

Praveen: "I was strongly praying for the accused managers in that nokia suicide case to be punished." Thats the moot point! When I saw that news my first reaction was "Poor manager" as I had seen the other sides. But most people would have bayed for his blood. This can happen to any of us.

Kumar: Absolutely! That money collector was doing his job. Tomorrow if I don't grant a team member leave and she suicides because of that I shouldn't be put in jail for that!

DD: Actually a lawyer can answer this question better, but I am told a suicide note indicting you can get you arrested. I dont know if it is considered infallible, but a death statement is infallible, reliable sources tell me.

Synapse said...

i dont know about suicide notes, however a dying declaration made by person near death to a magistrate or other reliable witness has very high evidentiary value.

The Layman said...

I had a discussion with a lawyer after reading this post, and from what I could gather;
If someone leaves a suicide note,
police can question the person and chargesheet him, produce the suspect in the court and there on proven guilty he/she will be arrested.
If the circumstances and evidences show the accused as not guilty the person goes free.

@DD - "if someone commits suicide, why should someone else be punished? Is the person driving someone to suicide also punishable? "

Suppose someone gets disgusted with the whole system, writes a suicide note and blames manmohan singh for his death and kills himself. Then well Mr. Singh might not be punishable.
However, if a wife kills herself saying that her husband was torturing her for dowry then it is a different case. It is a strong evidence for the case I think.

Depends on situation to situation I guess. These lawyers would know better.

silverine said...

Synapse: Thats scary!

Layman: *whew* Thats a relief! I was discussing this with some people here and they say that the ignominy of appearing in newspapers and being hauled to court etc is terrible even if they are let off later.

phoenix said...

"Obscure blogger"

Paaah!! Your modesty annoys me sometime!! Everyone knows who you are!! I have come here with a complaint. Hear me out!! We have been observing your blog for sometime now! :-p And we see an interesting trend. We see how smartly "some" mallu bloggers leave a comment at your blog to announce that they have started blogging. This they think their instant ticket to fame. After that they sort of puff up their chests and look around, find fellow mallus and start networking. Soon we have a group who take pot shots at you at other forums. Since you don't like name dropping I will leave it at that. Our suggestion...close down your comment section. This is where all the bad elements take root. Since majority of your readers are non mallus and do not comment, you don't have to worry about them not finding a voice at your blog. Think about it lady seriously!

I am coming from Scorpiogenius's blog. I saw an obscure blogger twice your age( tvmrising - ha ha what a misnomer) dissing you and MC in the comment section without a word on the excellent post written there. Now that is the kind of elements I am talking about. I don't know if you will publish this comment. But do read and think over what I have said.

Happy Dassara from all 15 of us at IIT Allahabad! Tally ho!!

silverine said...

lol! Happy Dassera to you too! Point noted ma'am! :)And you missed out an 'I' in IIIT Allahabad! tch tch

Abraham Menacherry said...

Hmm for some reason I am unable to post a comment on your latest post "obscure blogger"

really thought provoking post I must say. I too feel that the personality of a blogger reflects in his blog(i.e after you stated it!) I guess it is kinda automatic. And yes, just like in real world people gravitate to "nice/gossippy/outrageous/humorous"blog people.

I also see some exceptions. I have friends who are perfect losers(definition of loser being 0 G.F's) in the real world but who make a killing in the chat world. Once when I asked such a "virtual" king how he did it, his answer was "I am shy and not quick witted in the real world, but in the virtual world, I don't feel shy and I get time to think out and reply a funny answer. Girls just love me there."

silverine said...

Abraham: That post was statement, nothing to discuss about so I turned off comments.

"just like in real world people gravitate to "nice/gossippy/outrageous/humorous"blog people

Very true!

About your friend, some people are tongue tied and or shy. In blogworld everybody gets to have their say! These people show their true selves while writing. That said, I am a chatterbox offline :p

Swarna said...

I followed Abraham's example.
I liked that - "Blog for yourself and leave the rest to God and readers".

Rahul said...

its bloody frustrating when comments are turned off!!

silverine said...

Swarna: Thanks! :)

Rahul: Please see my reply to Abraham :) Comments open for the new post!

Anonymous said...

completely agree with phoenix.
Gal you just rock. Moreover, I am happy to see the so called obscure bloggers out of your list :P.
This comes with fame gal... and I'm sure you're quite used to people taking pot shots at you.
What you said is true.. you get to know a person's true self through his/her blog :)