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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Of children and crime reports

With TV channels repeating and recreating sensational cases, kids are no longer immune to the horrors surrounding them.

sex-and-relationships Updated: Jun 18, 2008 16:14 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times

The other day, after watching the late night news, my husband carelessly asked our nine-year-old, why everyone was going on and on about Arushi Talwar.

"It's a murder probe," she told him with an all-knowing air.

Surprised that she even knew the word ‘probe', he asked her if she knew who had murdered the 14-year-old.

"Of course," she said, with a careless shrug. "It's Krishna."

TV reporters had been droning all evening about Delhi dentist, Dr Rajesh Talwar's compounder Krishna being subjected to narco tests. We hadn't even realised that the information had registered and been filed away.

Sure now that she was following the teen's case with some amount of interest, my husband wondered aloud why the murderer couldn't have been Talwar himself.

Dad's not possible
"Not possible," retorted our daughter. "How can a father kill his daughter?"

The conversation revealed that thanks to 24x7 news channels, most of which try to up TRPs by repeating and even recreating sensational cases, children are no longer immune to the horrors surrounding them.

At the same time, it was reassuring to learn that in our daughter's life a baba can never be a boogeyman. Protected and loved, she could never imagine a father harming his child.

But unfortunately, the devil lives amongst us, at times. This year, 21-yearold Sunita who was three-months pregnant, and her boyfriend, 22-year-old Jasbir Singh were dragged out of their home by five armed men and strangled to death. The crime was even more horrifying because their corpses were then laid outside Sunita's father's home in Bhalla, a village only a couple of hours drive from Delhi.

Honour killing
Om Prakash wanted to see for himself the ‘honour' killings. His daughter had made the mistake of leaving her husband for her high-school sweetheart who had grown up in the same village as her. And that turned the relationship incestuous even though the lovers didn't share ties of blood.

However, twisted the reasoning Om Prakash had a reason to loathe his own child and want her dead. But what about 46-year-old John David Battaglia? He was sentenced to death by a Dallas court for shooting his daughters, nine-year-old Faith and six-year-old Liberty, at pointblank range, even as their mother listened to their cries for mercy on the speaker phone.

Trust matters
Battaglia was afraid that he would be arrested for violating probation on the charge of domestic violence. Liberty apparently hid under her bed, not wanting to go out for dinner with dad. "But I said, ‘Oh, it will be okay.' I trusted you with their lives," said their sobbing mother Pearle in court, pointing an accused finger at her husband.

Trust. That's what binds a relationship together, keeps a child secure in her world. There's nothing more terrible than that trust being betrayed by the one you trust the most. For my daughter's sake, I hope Arushi Talwar was murdered by Krishna.. and not her father.