Mem­o­ries of Aarushi fade as life goes on at Jal­vayu Vi­har

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTSPOTLIGHT - Vinit vinit.koneru@htlive.com

NOIDA: Nine-and-a-half years later, the mem­o­ries of 14-year-old girl Aarushi Tal­war and do­mes­tic ser­vant Hem­raj Ban­jade, have now faded with time. How­ever, neem trees named in the mem­ory of the two are slowly grow­ing in a gar­den near L32 flat in Jal­vayu Vi­har, Sec­tor 25, here.

On May 16, 2008, the day Aarushi was found mur­dered, ev­ery­one liv­ing in the lo­cal­ity re­ceived a shock. In the fol­low­ing days as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­folded, ev­ery nook and cor­ner of Jal­vayu Vi­har re­ver­ber­ated with sev­eral the­o­ries be­hind the deaths. Within a few days, even the na­tion started pon­der­ing over the­o­ries be­hind the crime, fol­low­ing in­tense me­dia cov­er­age.

“Peo­ple started mak­ing their own the­o­ries on the in­ci­dent.

On the day she was found dead, Tal­war’s do­mes­tic help, Hem­raj Ban­jade, was miss­ing and he be­came the ini­tial sus­pect.

A day later, when his body was dis­cov­ered on the ter­race of their res­i­dence, her par­ents, Dr Ra­jesh Tal­war and Dr Nupur Tal­war, be­came the prime sus­pects,” said (re­tired) Com­man­der Naren­dra Mo­han, who has lived in the neigh­bour­hood since 1994. “Po­lice started be­liev­ing some select ru­mours and pro­ceeded into the mat­ter,” he said.

How­ever, those who closely knew the fam­ily re­fused to be­lieve the the­ory that the doc­tor cou­ple mur­dered their only child and the do­mes­tic help, he added.

Deepali, a rel­a­tively newer res­i­dent of Jal­vayu Vi­har, who owns a house in the same block, said, “When we bought a home two years back in this block, we did not knew that Aarushi lived here, but later came to know about it. But the in­ci­dent is a thing of past now... No one re­ally talks about it, ex­cept the news chan­nels.” NEW DELHI: At a flat Azad Apart­ment in south Delhi, the Tal­war fam­ily fol­lowed the news closely await­ing the fate of Aarushi’s par­ents, Ra­jesh and Nupur. It was at this flat that the cou­ple had moved to af­ter the mur­der, till their ar­rest in 2013 af­ter be­ing con­victed by a spe­cial CBI court.

As re­porters stood out­side the apart­ment since morn­ing, there was no word from the fam­ily. Would they speak to the me­dia? What if the Al­la­habad High Court too found the cou­ple guilty? Most res­i­dents en­ter­ing the build­ing said, “The rel­a­tives do not want to jinx the ver­dict by giv­ing in­ter­views.”

A few min­utes af­ter 2.45pm, when the high court ac­quit­ted the cou­ple, there was a mes­sage: Aarushi’s aunt Van­dana Tal­war would brief the me­dia. Van­dana, a doc­tor, is the wife of Ra­jesh’s el­der brother Di­nesh.

At 4.16pm, Van­dana came down from her third floor flat, along with Aarushi’s ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther, re­tired group cap­tain BG Chit­nis. The two were es­corted by friends and rel­a­tives.

“The past nine years were emo­tion­ally drain­ing. We are tired. We thank the court for this re­lief and the in­jus­tice meted out to Ra­jesh and Nupur. We are happy we can now move for­ward. We want to thank all those who sup­ported us – emo­tion­ally, phys­i­cally. There were many we did not know who con­tin­ued be­liev­ing in us. Some even sup­ported fi­nan­cially,” Van­dana said.

When asked if they would seek a probe to find out who killed Aarushi, the fam­ily re­fused com­ment. “You will have to talk to my lawyers. They are ... in a bet­ter po­si­tion to an­swer this,” she said.

BG Chit­nis said, “I have seen them suf­fer. At this age it was tir­ing for me to see my daugh­ter Nupur and her hus­band put be­hind bars for a crime they did not com­mit. It was emo­tion­ally drain­ing... We are deeply re­lieved and grate­ful to God for the ver­dict. It has been an ex­haust­ing jour­ney for us. We have suf­fered in the last al­most 10 years. We are grate­ful to the high court …. We also thank the hun­dreds and thou­sands who did not know us for sup­port­ing us.”

The cou­ple are likely to re­turn to this apart­ment af­ter their re­lease. A se­cu­rity guard said, “It will be a very happy Di­wali for the fam­ily. But did the court say who killed that lit­tle girl?”

I do not know if this is the fi­nal ver­dict in the case or not, but it is def­i­nitely the cor­rect ver­dict. No one can be kept in jail on mur­der charges with­out ad­e­quate ev­i­dence against them.

VIRENDRA SINGH GOSAIN/HT PHOTO

The tree in the lo­cal­ity planted in mem­ory of Aarushi.

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