Minister seeks apology from police officer in Aarushi murder

June 6th, 2008 - 1:06 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Union Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury Thursday demanded that the senior police officer, who made “derogatory remarks” against teenage murder victim Aarushi Talwar, should apologise. She said he should be suspended. “Transfer is not enough. Who knows it could be a plum posting? Then Inspector General of Police (Meerut range) Gurdarshan Singh should apologise for his irresponsible behaviour and be suspended for using such a derogatory language for a minor,” she told reporters Thursday.

Chowdhury also attacked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.

“It is disappointing to see that Mayawati is defending the police officer instead of reacting to the language used against a minor girl who is no longer alive,” she said.

The Uttar Pradesh police had named family help Hemraj as the prime suspect soon after 14-year-old Aarushi’s body was discovered in her parents’ apartment May 16 in Delhi’s suburb Noida. They backtracked after Hemraj’s body was found on the roof of the apartment May 17.

The girl’s father, dentist Rajesh Talwar, was arrested May 23, with the police claiming he killed his daughter in a fit of rage as he objected to her closeness to Hemraj. This raised Chowdhury’s hackles and she rapped the Uttar Pradesh police for their “character assassination” of Aarushi.

Chowdhury said it is disappointing to know that “the chief minister, whom I respect a lot for her administrative abilities, has not paid attention towards important areas in her state”.

She said even after Noida’s Nithari incident, which shook the nation as skulls and bones of children were found in a drain in 2006, only 17 juvenile justice boards (JJB) and only 10 Child Welfare Commissions (CWCs) functioned in the state.

“Instead of shielding people she should look at her state. There are 71 districts whereas only 17 juvenile justice boards. As per rule, there should be 71 JJBs and CWCs in the state. Therefore, instead of levelling charges on others the UP government should look at these facts first,” she added.

“These figures are provided by the UP government only, therefore this is no ploy to play politics,” she added.

She said the government is serious about filing a defamation case against the UP police.

“We are exploring the legal options. I want to cross check and go through each and every fact before going for a legal battle. The video tapes, I would like to look at, before taking any decision on the same,” she said.

The ministry is also examining whether there is a regulatory mechanism that prohibits any government servant to speak irresponsibly.

“We will be persistent in following up to see the action taken against the police officials because this will act as deterrent for others and responsible officers will not treat anything so insensitively,” the minister added.

On June 2, Chowdhury called a meeting of child rights experts, NGOs and lawyers to discuss the legal options available with her ministry to act against the police officers.

A child rights panel also sought explanation from the police for their “objectionable” statements.

Mayawati, in turn, flayed Chowdhury for “meddling” in the case and for issuing “irresponsible statements”. “They should stop petty politics in a matter that is so serious and sensitive,” Mayawati said.

The war of words continued with Chowdhury saying: “How sad it is that a woman chief minister thinks that a young girl’s life is equal to politics. However, my reaction to the case comes as a mother, out of great pain and anguish. I only wish that Mayawati would know what it is to feel like that.”

Mayawati is unmarried.

With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) taking over investigations into the murders, Mayawati June 1 announced the transfer of Inspector General (IG) Gurdarshan Singh and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) P.C. Meena, both of the Meerut Range, and Noida’s Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Ganesh.

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