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'The Talwars didn't even call us once'

Her story As the Aarushi case continues to be in the news, we tracked Hemraj's widow. Khum Kala speaks of her loss and recounts the days after the shocking double murders. Utpal Parashar writes.
Hindustan Times | By Utpal Parashar
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2011 11:51 PM IST

A life of hardship

"I came to know about my husband's death three days after he had been murdered. Everyone in the village seemed to know about it - except me.

They used to discuss it behind my back after the news broke on television channels and relatives in Delhi and Noida began to call home.

I knew something was wrong and finally confronted the villagers to tell me the truth. Life's not been the same ever since.

I came to Dharapani, a remote village that was a two-hour walk from my family home, as an 18-year old bride 25 years ago.

My husband used to work in New Delhi. I, too, went and stayed with him for some time, but returned to the village when he went to Malaysia some years later.

My elder daughter was born three years after our wedding and our son Prajal nine years later.

Four years ago, my husband returned from Malaysia and again started working in New Delhi. He got a job at the Talwar house some months later through the recommendation of another Nepali acquaintance who had worked for the same family. By this time, our daughter Meena was married to Jeevan Sharma, who also used to work in Noida.

I have no idea how much my husband earned, but he used to send around Rs 2-3,000 every month. Although it was not much, we were able to run the house.

My husband used to dream of sending Prajal to a nice English-medium school.

Four months after he started working with the Talwars, my husband came home. It was the last time I saw him. He mentioned that Dr Talwar would get very angry at minor things. Five months after that visit, my husband was murdered.

I was shocked and distraught at the news. But the allegations labelled at my husband initially were what affected me most. They were all false. He was a simple, honest man. No one in the village has a bad word to say about him. How could they blame him for that girl's death?

Apart from a few journalists from the local media and India no one bothered to visit us after the incident. No policeman from India came to talk to us. The Talwars never tried to find out about us or make a phone call to inquire whether we were dead or alive. My husband used to work at their house. Don't we deserve that much at least?

These days we rely on our son-in-law Jeevan and my elder brother Dharma Raj Bhusal to run our kitchen. Shopkeepers have also stopped giving us things on credit because of our inability to pay.

I have started selling utensils and other things in the house to buy essentials. The past year was especially difficult due to ailments and illnesses. We had to take Prajal to Varanasi to treat his pneumonia and allergic asthmatic bronchitis. I am also having problems with my right hand and am not able to move it much. Doctors say it has to be operated. My 80-year-old mother-in-law Krishna Kala is also unwell and needs medical attention.

We have a small piece of land near our home but that too is lying useless as there are no male members in the family who can till it and we don't have the resources to employ anyone.

Amid all these, I was happy to learn that an Indian court has again started proceedings to investigate the murder of my husband and Aarushi.

We are hopeful that unlike the previous instance when the police and CBI failed to nab the culprits, this time it will yield some result.

All I want is that the guilty should get maximum punishment. I also want the Talwars to compensate us for the death of my husband. He is no more, but I need money to take care of the family, get Prajal, myself and my mother-in-law treated.

Prajal has become very quiet after his father's death. He studies in a government school, a 15-minute walk from home. Once he gets cured, I want to send him to a good English-medium boarding school like his father had dreamt of. All my hopes rest on him now."

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