(On the night of 15 May 2008, Aarushi Talwar was murdered in her bed. She had sustained injuries from a possibly fatal blow to her forehead. Her throat was slit. 14-year-old Aarushi’s body was found by her parents the next morning. Two days later, the prime suspect, Hemraj Banjade, the Talwars’ domestic help, was found dead on the terrace.
On 12 October, the Allahabad High Court delivered its verdict in the case, acquitting the Talwars of murder charges. This interview was first published on 20 December 2015 and is being republished from The Quint’s archives in light of the verdict.)
On 18 December, 2015, Dr Dinesh Talwar, Tanvir Ahmed Mir and Avirook Sen addressed an audience at the Jalvayu Vihar Community Centre in Noida. The audience comprised the very people Aarushi and her parents had lived among. They were family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances- the immediate community, the first responders to the ghastly events of 15 May, 2008.
Dr Dinesh Talwar, Aarushi’s uncle; Tanvir Ahmed Mir, the Talwars’ lawyer; and Avirook Sen, journalist and author of Aarushi, took it upon themselves to make sure that the Talwars’ nearest and dearest were aware of the facts of the case and the details of the trial.
Organised by Aarushi’s aunt, Vandana Talwar, the event at the community centre was a successful attempt at a dialogue about the details of the trial. Despite proof that evidence had been doctored, and that the trial was far from ‘fair,’ the Talwars were declared guilty.
As Dr Talwar said, they (Rajesh and Nupur Talwar) have been declared guilty, but guilty based on what?
‘The Aarushi Murder Case Represents What Can Go Wrong With Our System’
The media went to town with the 2008 Aarushi murder case. Wild, unconfirmed rumours did the rounds and the sheer salaciousness of the allegations ensured that the case captured the public imagination. Aarushi’s ‘immoral character’ and the Talwars’ supposed extra-marital affairs and scandalous liaisons became a matter of public discourse.
Between the media and incompetent investigative agencies, a vindictive character assassination of the entire Talwar family was undertaken. Amidst all the moral judgement, justice was denied.
Seven years later, in 2015, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, convicted for murdering their daughter, are awaiting trial in the Allahabad High Court. The hope is that this time, an informed public and vigilant, careful media coverage can ensure a fair trial and that those responsible for Aarushi and Hemraj’s murders are brought to justice.
Video Editor: Sunil Goswami
(This article was first published on 20 September 2015. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives ahead of the Allahabad HC hearing of the case on 31 August.)