The CBI court’s guilty verdict in the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case has come as a relief for one family in Nepal. But they are unhappy with the quantum of punishment pronounced by the court.
Hemraj Banjade’s widow Khum Kala, teenage son Prajal and octogenarian mother Krishna Kala are not satisfied with the fact that their long wait for justice has ended with life sentences for the Talwar couple.
“I was hoping that the court would announce death sentences to those guilty of murdering my husband,” Khum Kala said over the phone from her remote village in Arghakhanchi district, nearly 400 km south-west of Kathmandu.
The murder of the family’s sole bread winner Yam Prasad Banjade (also known as Hemraj) had shattered Khum Kala, Prajal and her mother-in-law and the court’s verdict came as a much needed balm - but it was not enough.
“I was sure from the beginning that the Talwars were responsible for the murders. I wanted the most stringent punishment for them. However, I accept the court’s decision,” Khum Kala said.
Kala, however, has not given up and trusts that her wish would be granted by higher courts, once the Talwars appeal against the verdict.
“My life has been irreversibly altered by this one incident. And it’s not enough that those who have been found guilty go free and resume their lives after spending just 14-15 years in jail,” she said.
Since Hemraj’s death, the family has struggled to meet their daily needs and pay for their mounting medical expenses.
Hemraj’s mother needs medical attention due to age-related complications, Khum Kala has problems with her right hand - which had to be operated - and Prajal requires treatment for allergic asthmatic bronchitis.
They have to depend on Hemraj’s son-in-law Jeevan Sharma, who is based in Noida, and Khum Kala’s brother Dharma Raj Bhushal, neighbours and relatives to eke out a living.
“We don’t have anything left. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain ourselves. I wish the court had provided some financial relief as well,” said Khum Kala.
Hemraj used to send around two-three thousand rupees every month after he started working with the Talwars. It was not enough, but helped in running the daily affairs of the family.
Khum Kala saw her husband for the last time when he came home five months before the murders. His body wasn’t sent back to Nepal but was cremated in Noida by Hemraj’s Nepali acquaintances.