Minister flays police for Aarushi’s ‘character assassination’ (Lead)

May 27th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury Tuesday criticised the Uttar Pradesh police for “character assassination” of teenaged murder victim Aarushi Talwar, while a child rights panel sought explanation for their “objectionable” statements. “We take cognisance of the language used (by the Noida police) to describe events following Aarushi’s murder,” Chowdhury told reporters.

Aarushi was found dead at her Noida home May 16 with her throat slit. The prime accused, missing domestic help Hemraj, was also found dead from the same house the next day. Police last week arrested her dentist father Rajesh Talwar.

Inspector General of Police (Meerut range) Gurdarshan Singh had then told a press conference that Talwar had killed his 14-year-old daughter to silence her over his extramarital relationship. Police also said that Aarushi was as “characterless” as her father, who had objected to her close relationship with Hemraj.

“We take strong reservation, particularly to Aarushi’s character assassination by police who are supposed to be sensitive about such issues,” Chowdhury said.

“The language they have used violates all norms of decency. Nothing has been established so far and yet they are speaking about the girl child, who is no more, as ‘characterless’. This is nothing short of derogatory.

“It is despicable to talk about a young child who is unfortunately dead and not around to defend herself,” Chowdhury said, adding that police can be booked under sections 499 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Asked what could have motivated police to use the strong language, Chowdhury said: “They are trying to suppress facts.”

Earlier in the day, the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights wrote to Uttar Pradesh’s director general of police, seeking explanation for the strong words.

“We have expressed anguish over the language used by Gurdarshan Singh about the deceased girl. It is highly objectionable and we have also asked him to respond within 15 days,” said Sandhya Bajaj, a member of the commission.

Chowdhury added that she too will speak to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati after 15 days. “I am sure she, being a woman, will not accept such behaviour of the police,” she said.

Bajaj said that as Aarushi was not there to “defend” herself, it was highly improper for the police to besmirch her name and her dignity.

“We asked the police to explain the basis of remarks that she (Aarushi) was found in an ‘objectionable but not compromising position’ with Hemraj and that this prompted her father to kill them both,” Bajaj told IANS.

“We have also asked police to explain why it was necessary to say what was said about the girl, when there was no confession from the accused about why he committed the crime,” she said, adding that the commission had taken the matter seriously.

“We are really upset. It’s the question of a child’s dignity. The police have to explain what were the compulsions. If there is need, we would come out with guidelines to stop police from naming children in such fashion,” Bajaj said.

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