Even as police are in the dark about the provocation for the attack on Chetana college student Payal Balsara, 21, experts believe the attacker, her classmate Nikhil Bankar, would have exhibited certain behavioural patterns before the incident, which should have been picked up by friends and relatives.
Bankar, who allegedly attacked Balsara over a suspected strained relationship and then stabbed himself, could have been given professional help, experts said.
“One must understand that a broken relationship carries with it a feeling of rejection, along with anger and hostility. A teenager would struggle to deal with such varied emotions,” said Dr Shubhangi Parkar, head of psychiatry department, KEM Hospital. “In such cases, when the youngster shows distressing signs, counseling over a period of time is important. One must get the person’s family and friends involved to boost his/her morale over a sustained period. A few counseling sessions alone are not sufficient,” she added.
Parkar said that tell-tale signs include being withdrawn over a sustained period or changes in daily routine, such as skipping meals or improper sleep cycle. “If one notices such changes, one should make subtle enquiries.
Dr Nilesh Shah, head of psychiatry department, Sion Hospital, said such violent outbursts are seen in those suffering from borderline personality disorders. “Such people are over-sensitive, impulsive and can exhibit micro-psychotic behaviour. Those suffering from it believe that they are not at fault and blame their misery on some other factor. Hence they will refuse to agree to professional help and in general are not co-operative.”
However, psychiatrist Harish Shetty said that professional help alone is not the solution. “Psychiatric help is not foolproof. At times, it is difficult to predict a person’s behaviour. However, factors such as having a good support structure in the form of family and friends go a long way in helping a person going through a difficult time.”
For sociologist Nandini Sardesai, the increasing rift in parent-child relationships could also be to blame. “Though parents should notice sudden changes in their children, these days, they are often not even aware about basic aspects of their children lives, such as the course they are enrolled in. The trust factor is missing and there is often a strained relationship between parents and children.”