Indian Navy sailor kills self, kin say was being harassed

A 23-year-old sailor posted onboard a naval ship shot himself on Saturday night. Sailor Melvin Raj's family alleged that he took the extreme step because he was being harassed by his seniors.

According to Indian Navy sources, Raj, posted aboard INS Talwar at the naval dockyard, Lion Gate, was on sentry duty on Saturday. At around 8 pm, Raj completed his sentry duty and headed to the armoury room where as per protocol he was supposed to deposit his rifle. "Instead of depositing his rifle, he shot himself with it. He was rushed to INS Ashwini, where he was declared dead before admission," said a Navy official. "For the past one month, Melvin had been telling his mother that he was being treated badly on the ship. He said that some of his senior officers verbally abused him and made him work long hours for no reason," said Raj's cousin Selvam Ramakrishnan.

Raj was to leave for Tamil Nadu on a short leave on the day he allegedly shot himself.

"We were told that he would be visiting us. The next we heard was that he had had an accident, and that we should leave for Mumbai immediately. It was only after we reached JJ Hospital that we learnt that he was no more," Ramakrishnan added. The eldest of three brothers, Raj was known as a courageous young man among his siblings and friends. His family said it was his dream to join the Indian Navy and that it must have taken a very strong reason for him to kill himself.

The Colaba police have registered an accidental death report. The Indian Navy has initiated an inquiry into the incident.

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