After serious outrage on social media about the attack on a lady banker Canara Bank's Saroli branch in Surat on 22nd June, action was finally initiated with the registration of an FIR (first information report) on 23rd June evening followed by a flurry of action after the finance finister responded.
Based on the information and closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, the branch officials have filed a complaint with police, which has been tweeted by the police commissioner’s twitter handle. It is learnt that the person involved has been suspended, but angry bankers are demanding an arrest.
Banks unions have condemned the attack and demanded strict action against the police constable. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded to the outrage this morning and tweeted about having spoken to the Surat collector and the police commissioner. The National Commisison for Women (NCW) also took cognisance of the outrage and assured action against the guilty official. We learn that Ms Rekha Sharma, chairman of NCW also spoke to the victim.
According to information shared bankers on the incident that took place on Monday in Canara Bank (e-Syndicate bank) Saroli branch in Surat, two people, one of them a police constable entered the branch and asked for passbook updation.
However, after the Finance Minister’s intervention, the police commissioner of Surat visited the branch and assured the staff of protection. The regional manager of Canara Bank also visited the branch. The bank management also engaged with the victim and is understood to have paid her Rs one lakh for medical expenses. It remains to be seen whether a branch manager will be appointed at the branch.
The Saroli branch of Canara Bank is allegedly operating without adequate staff and no branch manager since the incumbent manager has been on a six-month sabbatical since 23 March 2020, say bankers on twitter. Consequently, only Santoshi Kumari, the clerk and Harshad Tiwari, an assistant manager were left to manage all customers.
While the complaint filed by Canara Bank does not mention name of the attacker, according so social media messages posted by some bankers, his name is Subhashbhai Paragbhai from Surat Police.
In a tweet, Canara Bank says, "This is with reference to a certain incident at one of our Branches in Gujarat, wherein our staff had been abused by a certain individual. We wish to inform that the Branch has filed a complaint before the police and investigation has commenced. The culprits shall be brought before the law and justice shall be ensured to the victim."
Condemning the attack on a lady employee, both All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) demanded stern action on the customer for physically attacking and using abusive language on the lady staff.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) said it has taken cognizance of the matter and would ensure that the guilty official is brought to justice.
In a tweet, the Surat City Police said that an “Offence has been registered and action has been initiated” in this incident where the lady banker was attacked in Canara Bank’s Saroli branch by a police constable.
The larger issue of bankers having to operate without adequate security and facing assault and abuse remains open. In this case, the constable who attacked the bankers, wasn’t even wearing a mask, thus exposing them to health risks as well.