Media should leave us in peace, say harassed neighbours of Talwars

June 3rd, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sahil Makkar
Noida, June 3 (IANS) The hustle and bustle of community life has vanished from Noida’s Jalvayu Vihar with the once quiet neighbourhood under a virtual siege by the media and investigating agencies after the murders of teenager Aarushi Talwar and her domestic help Hemraj last month. People in the neighbourhood, mostly retired army personnel, remain holed up inside their apartments the whole day in an effort to avoid the media glare and police officials.

Since May 16, when the body of 14-year-old Aarushi was discovered from her second floor house, people say their life has come to a grinding halt. Jalvayu Vihar is located in Delhi’s neighbouring town of Noida.

Aasha Ram, who irons clothes in the area, said: “People used to come out for walks daily, but since the day Aarushi was murdered, everyone prefers to stay inside their houses.”

The case got a new twist and made bigger headlines a day later when the body of the family’s domestic help, Hemraj, who was initially suspected to be behind the crime, was found on the terrace. Since then, mediapersons and police officials have been camping in the area day and night.

“We are virtually under house arrest. We have even complained to the police to remove the media from our society, at least now, when almost a month has passed by. Since day one, the media people have been sitting outside our houses and on the staircase,” Piyush Tandon, a software engineer who lives next to the Talwars, told IANS.

“We extend all our support to the grieving family and understand that police have to come over and over again to inspect the house and for interrogation. But can’t the media people leave us in peace?

“Police say the media is so powerful that they are also hapless. Now you tell me would you like someone standing outside your house day and night for no purpose?” Tandon asked.

On Sunday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigations from the Uttar Pradesh police, who have been facing criticism for a ’shoddy’ probe from day one. Police have arrested Aarushi’s father, Rajesh Talwar, for the double murders.

Fresh pen markings around the blood spots on the stairs, roof railing, roof, water cooler and door, made by CBI officials, were visible.

Officials of the central paramilitary force have completely cordoned off the area, restricting the entry of outsiders till the CBI completes inspection of the house.

The walls of the housing society have been plastered with posters, signed by countless hands that say: “Aarushi, the entire nation is with you.”

Commodore (retd) Ravinder Datt, who lives at the first floor in the same building as the Talwars, said people in the society are scared.

“The maids and drivers refuse to come for work after seeing the large presence of police and mediapersons. We have to go out in person and convince them that they would not be grilled,” Datt told IANS.

“We don’t know why the media is allowed to visit the crime spots directly in India - this never happens anywhere else in the world. We don’t even know who is entering our society? It really poses a risk to our lives as no one dares to stop a man holding a camera and a mike.”

They were more disturbed by the presence of the media, Datt said. “They have no right to breach someone’s privacy.”

Wing Commander (retd) Vijay Kumar Jain, another resident, said: “We were asked to stay inside the house and the sleuths of CBI virtually put everyone under house arrest. They asked for our particulars and numbers. We were told that we could leave the house or bring guests only after informing the officials.”

(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at

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