The brutal murder of teenager Aarushi Talwar and her family's domestic help has taken a toll on the city's children - they are now wary of servants and some are even scared of their own parents!
Many student help lines have been ringing continuously ever since Aarushi's dentist father Rajesh Talwar was arrested for her murder. And schools, set to open after summer vacations, are now gearing up to discuss the issue with their students and provide counselling wherever necessary.
The Delhi Public School (DPS) in Noida, where 14-year-old Aarushi studied, plans to hold a prayer meeting apart from counseling sessions.
"We will have discussions and prayers meetings with the students once the school reopens. We have our team of counselors and we are all geared up to tackle the issue," Nina Sehgal, principal of DPS (Noida), told IANS.
Psychologist Aruna Broota said children have indeed been very scared ever since the murders took place.
"They tell me that they don't want to sleep with their parents any more. Some who don't have issues with their parents want the servants out, especially male," revealed Broota, who said she had talked to children aged 6-10 years.
DPS (Noida) apart, many other schools also admit that kids are stressed and will need emotional help.
"Children are stressed and insecure and we will definitely organise counseling sessions for them," said Anuradha Sharma, principal of Ryan International School (Noida).
But Asha Prabhakar, vice principal of Bal Bharti Public School, said it was better not to talk about the issue as the case was yet unsolved.
"We have our own team of counselors to tackle the issue and help both children and parents. But the case remains unsolved and nothing has been established. So, we have decided not to remind students about it and not to talk to them about it," she said.
Said Ashna Sirohi, Aarushi's friend and classmate: "There should be a discussion between students and counselors regarding the issue. People have assassinated her character and it's high time that things should get cleared."
Aarushi was found dead in her Jalvayu Vihar apartment in suburban Noida May 16. The Noida police initially named the Talwar's servant Hemraj as the prime suspect but retracted after his body was found on the terrace of the house the next day.
Aarushi's father Rajesh Talwar was arrested May 23 and police said he killed his daughter in a fit of rage as he objected to her closeness with Hemraj.
A second arrest in the case was made June 13 when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) held Talwar's compounder Krishna. On Tuesday, the agency claimed Krishna "confessed to his involvement in the crime", but it has not yet been able to establish the motive.
The case that has turned murkier with every passing day has led to children turning to student help lines for comfort.
"Students as well as parents are very scared after the Aarushi case and I have received numerous calls regarding that. I have conducted several workshops during summer where I've discussed the issue with students, teachers and parents," said Geetanjali Kumar, a helplline counselor and a guidance counselor at Hansraj Model School.
"Children are very stressed but the case has somehow helped them in maturing and understanding their vulnerability. I have also received a few calls on the help line where children have revealed that they are scared of their parents," she added.