It was four years ago that 15-year-old Aarushi Talwar and her family help Hemraj were found murdered in her home in Noida, a satellite township on the outskirts of Delhi. From that day on, the case has taken numerous twists and turns, and the public still doesn’t know who killed the two. Aarushi’s parents are facing trial for their alleged role in the twin murders. Four years is a long time and the Talwars and their relatives want the case to come to a close as soon as possible. Their sentiment is understandable. But what is not acceptable is how the family is trying to influence public opinion in favour of the two accused.
Last week, many were shocked to get an email from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ with the subject line ‘Parents are innocent’. The mail, which was circulated by Talwars’ relative Vandana Talwar, highlights facts to say how the Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the case is allegedly biased against the parents, who have been charged with murder and destruction of evidence. The mail was also interspersed with (over) dramatic sentences like ‘REMEMBER, This could happen to any Indian, to you, to me or to anybody’. Vandana Talwar, a relative of the Talwars, said that the family was using social media to “raise public awareness” about the case.
While there is no bar on using social media to generate awareness about a case and it has been done before in India, this one is different. In the earlier cases, the families and friends of victims used social media to garner support for the victims. But in this case, the accused seem to be playing the victim card to gain public support. The mail from ‘email@example.com’ is an intrusion in the private space of the recipients and more importantly, it is in bad taste to use the name of a person who is no more to attract attention and egg people to read it.