Aarushi case grabs more eyeballs than cricket, cinema

June 13th, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Crime has outrun cricket and cinema in the battle for television rating points (TRPs), at least as far as the brutal twin murders of 14-year-old schoolgirl Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj are concerned. According to Television Audience Measurement (TAM), a company which rates television programmes, news channels scored nine points for the telecast of the Noida twin murder case as compared to 7.5 points for the IPL match between Mohali and Hyderabad on May 23 - the day Aarushi’s father was arrested for his alleged role in the murders and police put out the theory that he caught his daughter and Hemraj in an “objectionable but not compromising position”.

With a dentist father being arrested for his teen daughter’s murder and police alleging sleaze and an extramarital affair, the case of the Delhi Public School student who was found dead in her middle-class Noida home on May 16 has seized the imagination of the people. The body of the family’s domestic help Hemraj, the initial suspect, was found on the terrace of the house the next day.

According to psychiatrist Sameer Parikh, the Aarushi murder case has caught attention because it challenges the foundation of people’s beliefs.

“Although the case is not yet solved, the various suggestive reports, such as the father of the teenager held allegedly for the murder poses serious question about the fundamental framework of our society and about all the safety parameters on which we have such blind faith. Naturally, this case has generated a lot of interest,” Parikh told IANS.

Feeding on the public’s hunger to know every detail of the case, the twin murder, which is now with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has dominated the news for nearly a month now.

Ashwini Dey, who runs a grocery shop in north Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar area, said he reads every newspaper item on the Aarushi murder case and follows every bulletin on the case.

“I am not the only one who follows this case regularly. Discussions on this case inevitably comes up in almost every drawing room conversation with my friends. It is an intriguing case … why would the parents, so well educated and well off, want to kill their only child? And if it is not them, then who is it?” Dey asked.

Saina Shah, a student doing her post graduation in Mumbai, said the Aarushi case caught her attention because it had ceased to be just a crime story.

“It is a crime story no doubt, but not only that. Aarushi’s friends fighting against her character assassination, rights activists trying to stop Balaji Telefilms from making a serial on the case … media’s ethics, human rights, a lot of angles are interwoven in this case - which makes the case so intriguing,” she said.

News that Balaji Telefilms was planning to use the case as a plot line in one its soaps provoked outrage. Aarushi’s mother Nupur appealed to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which in turn wrote to the information and broadcasting ministry.

Renuka Chowdhury, minister of women and child development, lashed out at the production house: “In the race for higher TRPs, they are planning to make a serial on the girl’s (Aarushi) murder, which is absolutely unfair. How can they make a serial when investigations in the case are still going on? It is very insensitive.”

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