The rising number of suicide attempts among Indians in Qatar is pushing people to do something about it. Community members are appealing to Qatari authorities and to the Indian Embassy to reverse the growing trend.

Following a number of suicides over the past few days, especially among Keralites, Indians at an open forum on Saturday said most cases involved problems with sponsors or abuse.

An Indian was reported to have died in Al Wakra last week.

His death is suspected to be a suicide because, according to community sources, he was extremely depressed.

In another incident, 27-year-old Keralite Sunood B. Tulsidas, was found hanging on Monday from the ceiling of the corridor outside his apartment in an isolated area near Shara Kaharba.

According to a source at the Indian Embassy in Doha, the death toll in the Indian community in Qatar reached 109 this year, surpassing the 100 deaths in the corresponding period last year (January to Nov-ember 2003).

The total death figure for the last year was 119, the highest in five years. The source said many were suicides and the majority of those were people who came from Kerala, although he did not provide exact figures.

According to the latest data provided by the Indian Embassy, there are 171,000 Indians in Qatar, and about 70 per cent of them are from Kerala.

Speaking at the monthly open house organised by the Indian Embassy, Dr. Ebraham Kollamana, vice-president of the Indian Community Benevolent Fund (ICBF), said immediate action had to be taken.

“We must do something to help check this trend. We must provide counselling to our people,” Kollamana said.

He presented other cases of suicide-related deaths, including that of a young Keralite who ended his life after he was refused an exit permit by his employer.

In another case, a Keralite driver tried to hang himself because he could not repay a loan of 18,000 Qatari riyals (Dh18,165). He did not succeed because the rope broke.

Indian Ambassador Ranjan Mathai, who also attended the open house, suggested the Indian Medical Association (IMA) could include counselling as one of its services, but permission should be obtained by the local authorities.

General Secretary of Sanskriti, a Kerala social organisation, announced a psychiatrist would soon be available for public lectures and counselling.