There are enough outrageous things going on in every corner in India that one should be sensitised to these things, but the case of Aarushi Talwar’s and the servant’s murder sets new lows. (Google if you’re unfamiliar with the case.)
First, the NOIDA police arrest the father on circumstantial evidence that seems laughable at best. Then, they claim that not only was the father having an affair that his daughter didn’t approve of, but the daughter was having an affair with the murdered servant. Now they leak emails and messages sent by Aarushi, for purposes that are not clear at all.
The Times of India has an impassioned editorial appeal, available online here, calling on readers to protest this invasion of a dead girl’s privacy and the smearing of her character.
Which is very creditable, but the same TOI has frontpaged one of the leaked e-mails, in full, in their Chennai edition. What about the privacy issue there?
Anyway, the police apparently claim that the email reproduced by TOI reveals tensions between Aarushi and her father. To me, at least, that email reveals nothing of the sort. It is about some argument Aarushi had with her parents about what a teen is permitted to do, and reveals a great deal of understanding on Aarushi’s part of her parents’ point of view. I see no acrimony there. So TOI was probably right to reproduce that mail, despite the privacy issue — it rips the police’s case, but worse, it exposes them as incompetent morons who have no idea about the lives of teenagers but are happy to smear them when they are dead.
The CBI has now apparently begun a probe into this case but it is not clear that the NOIDA police have been taken off the case. Is there any prospect of the police officials concerned being punished for this sort of loose talk about a dead teenager? And what if the father is exonerated: who will compensate him for the additional trauma and slander, at a time that was already traumatic enough for him? The police’s job was to keep the neighbourhood safe. Having failed at that job, they were under pressure to “solve” the case, and seem to be taking the easy route.
An old joke in Delhi went like this: Police teams from all over the world participated in a lion-capturing competition. At the end of the day, all the police teams had returned — some successful, some not — except the Delhi Police. So the organisers went to look for them, and found them with a bear that they had captured, thrashing the animal mercilessly and shouting, “बोल, तू शेर है!” (“Admit it, you’re a lion!”)