[Updated July 21]
Posted by Namita Bhandare: Breaking Noose: Where did the media go wrong in its coverage of the Aarushi murder case, should they say sorry and will it even begin to compensate the Talwars for what they’ve been put through? Post your responses. (This column first appeared in Hindustan Times on July 15.)
On national networks, TV anchors and editors Deepak Chaurasia and Ashutosh are clear: the media have nothing to apologise about in the Rajesh Talwar case. Now that the doctor, once accused of murdering his daughter, is out on bail for lack of evidence, you’d imagine that he’s trying to pick up the pieces of his life and get on with it. No such luck. The murder of Aarushi Talwar continues to make news. On the day of Dr Talwar’s release, more than a hundred camera crews waited outside jail, followed his car to the temple where he and his wife went to pray and then set up camp outside his father-in-law’s house.
It’s been high season for the media for the past two months since 14-year-old Aarushi and the family’s servant, Hemraj, were found murdered in Noida. In the days that Dr Talwar was in jail, charges of sexual aberrations, intimate, personal details (much of it baseless), SMSes received and sent, and emails between Aarushi and her parents have flown fast and furious. Nothing has been sacrosanct — though some newspapers and channels did restrain themselves from publishing the more salacious leaks. Others, however, did away with such niceties. If one channel ran an MMS that purported to show Aarushi undressing in the presence of an unknown man (it was not Aarushi), others had anchors painting their hands red as they spoke solemnly about the “khooni baap”.
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The story so far: A 14-year-old girl, Aarushi Talwar, and the family’s domestic help, Hemraj, are found murdered in an apartment in Delhi’s suburb, Noida. The police arrests Aarushi’s father Rajesh Talwar, a dentist, for the murders. The police claimed that he killed them after finding Aarushi in an ‘objectionable position but not compromising state’ with Hemraj.
After many bizarre theories, unsubstantiated allegations and endless mudslinging, the case is handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Fifty days later: The innocent father is freed from custody. After subjecting him to lie-detector and narco-analysis tests, CBI says it has no evidence against him. The murders, says the Bureau, were committed by three persons: a domestic help working in the area where the Talwars live, the domestic help of the family’s friends, and Talwar’s compounder.
[Photo: Rajesh Talwar with his wife Nupur after he was released from jail.]
Previously in AW: