The haste of CBI and media: Aarushi-Hemraj muder case

crime-scene-was-dressed-up-aarushis-body-tampered-with-cbi_151013102416

What do you do when a high-profile case has been stretched for more than five years, has been investigated by the state police, then by a said team of CBI who claimed something different to an another team of CBI who turned the tables, when there are two sets of suspects, five arrests and countless fumbles and when the supposedly ‘accused’ ask for a re-investigation just to get themselves arrested and prosecuted? You wrap it up as quickly as you can, boggle with the common man’s minds and gift it to the nation. The Aarushi-Hemraj murder case has been twisted and turned by the police officials, the CBI, the media that it is impossible to see the forest for the trees. The case remains unsolved.

Firstly, I would want to clarify my position on Aarushi’s parents, I do not believe that they killed their daughter and their domestic servant but I also do not believe that they didn’t kill their daughter and their domestic servant. So if someone would ask me, I would say, I don’t know. I will not dwell further into this, as there are two particular points that struck me while I was following the case and I was appalled to see how we as a society have a complete lack of understanding and sensitivity towards a 14-year old and an underprivileged migrant.

So just because the police officials and the CBI couldn’t provide any substantial evidence or ground basis as to why Aarushi and Hemraj were killed or what was the motivation behind the killing, the best thing they could do was to conjure up a set of filthy patriarchal excuses and stamp the tag of ‘honour-killing’ on the case. The gossip- hungry media was eager to spread this claim like fire without even blinking for a second what injustice is being meted out to the demised. What does it say about us as a society that we are so freely able to say that a 14-year old can and was having an ‘affair’ with an adult man, given that Aarushi was a child at the time of her death. There seems to be a complete lack of understanding that a child cannot “have an affair”, that it is rape even if true – quite apart from the ethics of speculating on something like this.

There is no evidence of this claimed ‘affair’. The CBI and the state police have failed to produce anyone who would support their claims. But still they were adamant to point fingers at Aarushi and Hemraj’s character. Is this how we treat the dead? Does this not show our typical patriarchal mindset? Why is it that a woman is seen as a sexual object? If Aarushi was not the Talwars daughter but their son who was murdered, would the police and the CBI still come to this conclusion? Would they have said that a 14-year old boy was having an ‘affair’ with an adult man? Oh, I don’t think so, because our society is not just patriarchal and misogynistic but also homophobic.

Another point that struck me was how quickly the ‘big daddies’ of the glamour industry pounced on the case to make even bigger bucks. Rumours have been doing rounds that the Talwars were offered a royalty of Rs.5 crore by a London-based writer and filmmaker if they cooperated with him in publishing a book and making a movie on Aarushi. Our Bollywood celebs are not behind and many prominent directors have shown interest in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case. This after the Talwars have already mentioned that they will not allow any book or film on the murder of their daughter and anyone taking up such a venture without their consent will face legal action. How can we be so insensitive? The pain has not even subsided and we are trying to commercialize the case and make money.

This is the state of our judiciary and our law system. We have a long way to go before we can expect any kind of justice from them. Till then, Aarushi and Hemraj will live in our memory as an instance of elephantine failure. As a society we owe Aarushi and Hemraj justice and truth.

 

Disclaimer: This article has also been published on Women’s Web

11.12.13: A black day for the Indian Judiciary and Human Rights

Today is a black day in the history of Indian Judiciary. The Supreme Court has criminalized homosexuality again and set aside Delhi High Court’s ruling in 2009. The SC judgement on Article 377 is a step backwards and is a barbaric and medieval act. It only shows how regressive world’s largest democracy is. We are going back to Barbarism in 2014 when we deny basic human rights to all the citizens irrespective of their gender and sexuality. Shame on you Supreme Court, shame on you.

Section 377 was introduced by the British Rulers 153 years back, who were under the influence of Victorian morality and values in regard to family and the procreative nature of sex. The Indian society prevalent before the enactment of the IPC had a much greater tolerance of homosexuality than its British counterpart, as it was not a reflection of the existing Indian values and traditions. Although the British read down this section and decriminalized homosexuality in 1967, it took India 62 years after independence to take this landmark decision. It was still a welcome and historic moment when the Delhi High Court read down Section 377 and decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. After such a progressive act by the Delhi HC in 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision was expected to be positive till yesterday. It was hoped that after SC reads down Section 377, it will just take a couple of years when same sex marriages would be legalized in India and the future of LGBTQI community seemed to be bright. After all, we saw Pride Marches happening in every big city, more people coming out and joining in, parents, relatives, friends, supporting their loved ones and the various state police departments being tolerant and in some cases also supportive.

But, alas, we hoped too much. Too much from the world’s largest democracy. Too much from an emerging economic power. Too much from a country that is proud of it’s rich culture. Yesterday was Human Rights Day, and today the Supreme Court showed us “all humans are equal, but some are less equal than others”. The constitution calls our nation a secular state and still we succumb to the pressure of various religious leaders and take such a retrograde step. Why is it that religion likes to control sex? What one does in private with a consenting adult shouldn’t be a matter of religion. Then we have those who claim to ‘cure’ homosexuality. Baba Ramdev has greeted the judgement and asked all homosexuals to visit him and attend his sessions to have a ‘better’ life and get rid of this ‘bad addiction’.

As John Lennon once said, “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight”. So homosexual sex between two consenting adults is illegal while it is perfectly legal to rape your legally married wife. The SC doesn’t want to recognize marital rape as domestic violence because it contradicts with our traditions and culture. This is what happens when a bunch of patriarchal bigots sit on our heads and have the power to tell us what to do with our genitals. Maybe, we shouldn’t call them private parts anymore as we can see, there isn’t any privacy left. They want to control whom we love and with whom we have sex. Then, why call yourself a democracy, be open and upfront about it, say it out loud that we are turning into a regressive society and a monarchy. The minimum sentence for rape is seven years while for homosexual sex life imprisonment. This says a lot about our justice system. Maybe, all women and queer people should mass apply for asylum in more tolerant countries with better human rights. The SC has proved, India: no country for women and homosexuals.

The verdict has come as a shock and exploits the fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination, violence and harassment. But today’s verdict is not the last verdict on Section 377. There will be more unless and until the SC completely reads down and deletes Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code. The verdict is a huge setback for the entire LGBTQI community but it is not just a gay issue anymore. This has become an issue of violation of human rights and people will stand up to it, be it straight or queer. One positive thing that comes out of this verdict is that more and more people will support homosexuality now, they will turn up in large numbers and the queer community will grow even stronger.

Dear SC, we are queer and we are here to stay.

gay_parade_pti_lgbt_338x225