Bengaluru: A day after the horrific shooting in the city at the Pragati Residential School hostel by the attendant Mahesh, which left 18-year-old Gauthami dead, and her friend Shirisha injured, police have gained access to a diary maintained by the killer which showed a disturbing mindset that was both regressively patriarchal, and revealed alarmingly, that he felt unappreciated at the workplace.
Mahesh’s diary did not show he had a mental illness, police insisted but they did admit that “he writes that his work went unappreciated and that he was not happy about the way he was being treated.”
DCP (South East) Dr. Rohini Katoch Sepat says: “At this juncture, we could say he felt he was the guardian of the students in the hostel and could not take it when they challenged his authority. This could be one of the reasons for the incident.”
Police said that as the self-appointed guardian of morals in the hostel and a disciplinarian, he had stopped the girls from interacting with the boys, was a stickler for timing and insisted that students follow the rules, none of which went down well with the girls.
“Every time he tried to lay down the law, the girls would resist which really upset him, he says in the diary,” the police said.
“The girls had also complained to the hostel warden about Mahesh recently, and the hostel warden had warned him against laying down the law, as he had no authority to impose rules on the girls. This was a huge letdown for him and he was upset that as the guardian, no-one followed his diktat,” the police explained.
The killer’s motives in buying Gauthami a gift on her birthday in January and his feelings when she refused to take it are not touched on, but Gauthami and Shirisha had given him a dressing down in public.
“All these developments had, perhaps, made him develop hatred towards the girls, particularly Gauthami, in the hostel. This could be the reason for the shooting,” police said.
Police said the killer has no criminal background. “All the girls in the hostel are shocked by the incident. They felt that Mahesh was annoying but had thought he was harmless,” the police added.
WHO is responsible for school safety? Neither the education department nor the Department of Women and Child Development are willing to accept that the safety of students at the many hostels in the city are their responsibility. If it isn’t, Mr Ratnakar and Ms Umashree, whose is it?