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Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Killing games

Sir — The shooting of a student at a school in Gurgaon shows how important it is to conduct checks on the background of pupils before granting them admission (“Shooting in schools”, Dec 12). The only way of doing this is by having rigorous interviews with parents. Else, children with criminal instincts, whose parents have failed to inculcate the right values in them, will take up valuable seats in the premium schools of the country. Whenever a juvenile delinquent is pulled up, his parents give him their tacit support, knowing full well what their child has done. The thought that there are wealthy and educated parents in whose care their child has access to weapons is shocking to say the least. Such parents are equally to blame for the crimes of their children and must be punished.

Parliament has recently passed a bill to ensure that the aged are well looked after by their children. If parents can command such a right, it is also their duty to raise their kids to become respectable citizens.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Pal, Batanagar

Sir — One cannot wish away the incident at the Euro school in Gurgaon as an act of juvenile delinquency. It is a case of cold-blooded homicide. This incident, though unprecedented in India, has come as a grim reminder of the increasing tendency among children to get violent at the slightest provocation. It ought to be viewed as separate from the acts of cruelty committed in innocence. Perhaps the climate of violence around the world is making its impact felt.

Yours faithfully,
Priyabrata Chowdhury, Calcutta

Sir — It appears that India has begun facing the consequences of a fast, West-influenced lifestyle. It is even more shocking that the guilty teenagers are showing little remorse for their actions. The perfection with which the Gurgaon shooting was executed is also very disturbing. One cannot deny the responsibility of the parents, who have no time for their children these days. It is important to make children of affluent parents realize that their comparatively greater financial security is no licence for deviant behaviour.

Yours faithfully,
Arvind K. Pandey, Allahabad

Sir — I am a school-going student. Until now, I used to think that child assassins existed only in the West. The murder of the supposed “bully”, Abhishek Tyagi, in Gurgaon’s Euro school must have left many like me traumatized. Such bloodshed in a school is horrifying for two reasons. One, teenagers are gunning down their classmate to settle scores; and two, it is a clear case of the failure of parental control. After Gurgaon, children and parents can no longer feel safe about their schools, which, for most of us, are like our second home. It has now become the duty of students to ensure that our schools are kept safe. Parents too need to take charge of their children’s activities, and schools should arrange for workshops and counselling sessions to facilitate greater interaction between teachers, students and their parents.

Yours faithfully
Samrat Das, Calcutta

Sir — Petty crimes by children are common in India. But boys in their early teens committing murder as payback for trifling fights with friends is something alarmingly new. It is not enough to just admit your child into an expensive school, parents must involve themselves more in their children’s upbringing. The presence of a weapon in the house and its easy accessibility to children only point to the gross irresponsibility of parents. No doubt the parents should be taken to task. One shudders to think that it is from this lot of misguided children that we shall choose our future leaders and politicians.

Yours faithfully,
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore

Sir — There is no indication in the profiles of the teenage killers of Gurgaon that they were frustrated or depressed enough to contemplate murder. What is most unsettling is that his teachers have shown up the main accused, Agastya, as a good boy with a clean record. Earlier, Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, had hit the headlines when two of its students indulged in sexual activity on the school grounds and then circulated a video clip of their act via their mobile phones. Do we need a clearer indication of the rapid degeneration of our society?

In the case of Agastya, it is obvious that his parents were irresponsible — think of the instances when the minor got away with riding his father’s motorcycle to school (“‘Cool’ kid with shrug & dismissive laugh”, Dec 13). Firmer parenting and timely counselling could certainly have prevented Agastya from taking such an extreme step. Educational institutions today are driven more by commercial considerations than by concern for their pupils. Arming children with the latest gadgets as a substitute for the care and attention that parents no longer have time to provide is counter-productive, as Gurgaon has shown us again.

Yours faithfully,
Subhankar Mukherjee, Burdwan

Sir — It is time we questioned the culture of hate that seems to be seeping into our social set-up. The pent-up aggression in youths today is frightening. Triggers of this aggression may be found in violent television shows and films, video games and also the drastic breakdown of a family support system. Children, instead of becoming self-reliant, end up being lonely and confused. They must be provided with outlets for communication and given a patient hearing, or we may soon have to give way to a generation of lost and irresponsible men and women.

Yours faithfully,
Md Ziyaullah Khan, Pune

Sir — Without denying the culpability of Agastya and Vikram’s parents, it must be pointed out that the children spent between seven and eight hours at school. Their teachers at Euro school should have noted that the victim, Abhishek, was a bully and taken steps to prevent further animosity between him and his killers.

Yours faithfully,
Usha Mondal, Durgapur

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