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.