Studies find online rummy suicides in TN highly exaggerated

Chennai, Sep 14 (IANS) As the issue around online rummy becomes a highly political issue in Tamil Nadu (NS:), two independent studies have found that suicides in the state in the last one year attributed to playing of online rummy are highly exaggerated.

A study by The Rotary Rainbow Project of Chennai working closely with the families of suicide victims, have found at least two instances of online deaths attrbuted to online rummy to be false.

They include the family of Kalimuthu, a constable of the Coimbatore armed city force and Nagarajan, a painting contractor in Chennai.

Both of them took their own lives during June-July period in 2022.

The families of both the victims have confirmed to Rotary Rainbow Project that the real reason of their suicides was debt trap and not online rummy.

Another study conducted by eminent scholar, Dr Sandip H. Shah, Professor of Psychiatry and Dean, Government Medical College, Godhra, said that there is insufficient data within the public domain to conclude that a suicide has been caused by online gaming in Tamil Nadu.

It calls for a ‘rational’ regulation that is based on further studies from the medical and scientific communities.

A huge political row had erupted in Tamil Nadu with political parties and social activists blaming online rummy as major cause of suicide. These two independent studies released in a space of a few weeks are bound to put question marks on these claims.

Tamil Nadu has historically among the highest suicide rates in India.

NCRB data on suicides available since 1966 have consistently ranked Tamil Nadu among the top two or three states in suicide deaths over a 50 year period.

In the latest NCRB figure, Tamil Nadu ranked second after Maharashtra among the states with the highest number of suicides in India.

According to NCRB, the top causes of suicide are problems were associated with career, loneliness, abuse, violence, conflict in families, mental illness, alcoholism, financial loss, and chronic pain.

The previous AIADMK government enacted the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021 banning online betting games like rummy and poker with stakes. However, this was quashed by the Madras High Court.

The present governmenthad appointed a committee under Justice K. Chandru to look into the effects of online gaming with stakes.

While the committee has submitted its report, the government is still to take a decision on this contentious issue.



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