If the dead could speak, Aarushi Talwar would ask some tough questions | columns | Hindustan Times
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If the dead could speak, Aarushi Talwar would ask some tough questions

Questions are bound to be raised about what the Talwars were punished for? If the dead could speak the teenager is likely to ask the Indian judiciary some tough questions.

columns Updated: Oct 16, 2017 14:22 IST
Nupur and Rajesh Talwar were on Thursday acquitted by the Allahabad High Court in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.  (File photo)
Nupur and Rajesh Talwar were on Thursday acquitted by the Allahabad High Court in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj. (File photo)(PTI)

If only the dead could speak. In case nature granted them this ability, I am sure Aarushi Talwar would come back from the dead and look India’s judiciary in the eye. She is likely to ask them some really tough questions. Even if the almighty had planned such a tragic end for me, isn’t it the failure of our law and order machinery that nobody has a clue about my killer? Why did senior officers of the Uttar Pradesh police fail to make a breakthrough? Why has the CBI been unsuccessful in unmasking the murderer? Is it incompetence or sheer lack of will?

Aarushi’s murder also proves that an anarchist and immoral mob mentality prevails in the world’s largest democracy. It seems we are all living in a gigantic, loud and noisy drum-house where some people are trying to make a feeble but ineffective plea for truth and justice.

Today, when I dig into the inbox of my memories once again, I realise that since May 2008, a suspense thriller has been taking shape before us. One day comes the news that a 14-year-old girl has been found dead in her bedroom in her Jalvayu Vihar home. A probe begins to find out who killed her. By evening the police realise that Hemraj, the domestic help, is missing. Assuming that he was the murderer, the speculation starts. The next day Hemraj’s body is found on the terrace of the apartment. The girl is killed in her bedroom and the domestic help’s body on the terrace. There is no sign of a robbery. The neighbours next door don’t have a clue about what happened. Who killed these two? When were they killed and why?

There was as much speculation, as there were questions.

At that time the Mayawati government was in power in Uttar Pradesh. She was very sensitive when it came to crime. Senior officers based in Lucknow began to apply pressure on the local police. Regional police chiefs from Meerut also jumped into the fray. Every day a new theory was floated. People talk about a trial by media. But all kinds of insinuations were being fed to them. Apart from character assassinating the murdered girl, even her parents and family friends were not spared. If you collate the newspaper clippings and news videos of that time, you would realise how our police apparatus is an expert in creating distortions and half-truths out of other people’s misery and how the gullible media plays the police’s court jester.

In its own estimate, through some calculations, the Uttar Pradesh police had ‘solved’ the case. But a number of questions were awaiting resolution. So the case was handed over to the CBI. The same CBI which wields the magic lamp, fears nobody and solves the most complicated mysteries like Sherlock Holmes. It is another matter that certain people prefer to call this efficient outfit a ‘caged parrot.’

The IPS officer assigned to solve the case was perceived to be brilliant. Being from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, it was believed that Arun Kumar would get to the bottom of the case and catch the culprits. But nothing came of it. The CBI submitted its closure report. It implied it had not managed to put together the evidence, but the court wasn’t convinced. So the balance of justice began to tilt the other way. Today, when the Allahabad High Court has conceded that there is not enough evidence against the Talwars and they can walk free, the question is: Is there something that has been buried or suppressed somewhere?

Is there a conspiracy behind this? Or, have the police and the CBI proved to be ineffectual? Whatever be the reason, one can’t deny that the death of a young dream and the transformation of a family’s happiness into mourning has been a waste. Questions are bound to be raised about what the Talwars were punished for? They lost their daughter, spent years behind bars, their careers were destroyed and now after coming out of prison, are looking at the challenge of leading the remainder of their lives. It is sad that a number of officers who scripted this tragic tale were decorated in India and abroad. Better results were expected of them but what happened was the opposite.

Is it not a matter of anger and sorrow that the nation’s system which feeds on hard-earned taxpayers’ money treats them so cruelly? By this time, when this murder mystery has become an urban legend, if there is anybody who can lift the curtain on this murder, it is Aarushi herself or Hemraj. But what can one do? Unfortunately, the dead cannot speak.

Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief Hindustan

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