Sir — The bizarre and shocking murder of two employees of the Bhowanipore branch of the State Bank of India by a security guard, inside the branch, in full public view, has rattled everyone (“Guard with Aamir’s zeal”, Dec 9). It requires a lot of nerve for a person to kill his colleagues in cold blood. Reportedly, the accused guard was disciplined and sincere in the performance of his duties; he also tried to instill such virtues in his colleagues. Apparently, this dedication to duty, instead of being appreciated, was ridiculed by some of his co-workers. This might have hurt the guard. Perhaps he was no longer being able to endure such insults. The incident of the killing does not seem to have occurred at the spur of the moment. The accused must have planned the murders beforehand. This case offers a peek into the complexities of the human psyche. The guard committed the crime knowing fully well the consequences of his action. He did not even show any sign of remorse at first.
A lesson should be learnt from the incident. Guards who carry weapons on duty should be handled carefully by their colleagues. Such personnel should also be kept under a certain degree of supervision. Periodic counselling could go a long way in detecting signs of frustration, anger and stress. Appropriate steps must be taken to help them deal with such problems so that they do not resort to violence to vent their suppressed feelings.
Srikanta Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
Sir — There is a strange similarity between the suicide of a nurse in London and the murders committed by a security guard at a SBI branch (“At workplaces, something snaps”, Dec 9). While the former was a victim of a prank call from an Australian radio station, the latter was reportedly a target of his colleagues’ taunts. These two incidents should serve as an eye-opener for society.
Pranksters must be careful about the effect their pranks could have. When a group of any kind gets formed — whether of colleagues, friends or of fellow travellers — often one person in the group becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes. The brute in us seems to enjoy this inhuman practice. Fun-seekers never care about the pain they cause to their targets. Sometimes, they even target someone who is mentally disturbed or challenged. It is true that nothing can justify murder. But still, preventive measures can be taken by society. Regular counselling of employees, especially of the armed ones, must be conducted at every workplace.
Sujit De, Sodepur
Sir — It is disturbing to know that Sunil Kumar Sarkar, a security guard of the Bhowanipore branch of the SBI, shot dead his fellow guard and the cashier inside a busy office. The episode is mysterious.
Sarkar, reportedly, is an ex-serviceman. People who have served the army have tough minds and are unlikely to commit such suicidal acts unless under acute stress. Moreover, Sarkar has been described as “mild-mannered”. There must have been a very strong reason for a man like him to react with such vehemence and brutality. And this reason is sure to be related to his interactions with his colleagues. The bank authorities must investigate the matter and take immediate steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.
According to news reports, while Sarkar was a man dedicated to his job, his colleagues often neglected their duties. Sarkar, obviously, did not like this, and tried to make them realize their mistake. As a result, they cruelly ridiculed Sarkar for his commitment. Perhaps they had pushed him too far without realizing it. The branch manager must keep himself in constant touch with his junior colleagues and take note of their grievances so that such incidents are avoided.
Benu Kumar Bose, Calcutta
Under the scanner
Sir — The decision of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to initiate prosecution in 19 cases where companies have been charged with making misleading claims about their food products is a late but correct step (“Taller? Better show proof”, Nov 27). In order to ensure better sales, companies make tall claims about their products in advertisements. Such advertisements appeal to the aspirations of the people. Most of these claims are false. It is good to know that the State has taken up the cudgel on the people’s behalf.
Rathin Kumar Chanda, Chinsurah, Hooghly
Sir — Proper nutrition is essential for the growth of our body. It is unfortunate that in India, about 42 per cent children under the age of five are underweight, owing mainly to malnutrition. The claims made by several household brands about how their products would effectively boost growth need to be examined thoroughly. It is heartening to know that the manufacturers of several children’s health drinks have come under the scanner for violations of food regulations.
Advertisements are meant to lure customers. People are easily taken in by the assurances regarding the nutritional value of food items. In most cases, these claims are not tested or proven. The companies that have been accused of making false or dubious claims should send their products for testing prior to advertisement or sales. The food companies that sell nutritional supplements should be under constant vigilance.
Soumya Bhattacharya, Calcutta