Renuka mulls legal action against Noida police (Lead)June 2nd, 2008 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury is not happy with the transfers of three Uttar Pradesh police officers who made slanderous remarks against teenaged murder victim Aarushi Talwar and said she is considering legal action against them. “I don’t think it (transfers) is sufficient. I don’t think it is any action at all. Transferring the officers involved in the case I don’t deem as action at all,” Chowdhury told reporters here after a meeting with child rights experts, NGOs and lawyers to discuss the legal options available with her ministry to act against the police officers.
Remarking that the police officials had no business handing out “personal character certificates” on the dead girl, she said: “I am examining all legal instruments at our disposal and how best to proceed. We are looking at it (taking legal action against the police officials).”
With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) taking over investigations into the murders, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Sunday gave marching orders to all the senior police officers connected with the probe so far. Mayawati 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.
The police had named family help Hemraj as the prime suspect soon after 14-year-old Aarushi’s body was discovered in her parents’ apartment on May 16 in Noida, a suburb adjoining Delhi. They backtracked after the servant’s body’s 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 had raised Chowdhury’s hackles and she severely rapped the Uttar Pradesh police for their “character assassination” of Aarushi.
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.
About Mayawati’s charge that the murder case was being politicised, Chowdhury said: “It is unfortunate. Mayawati is thinking as a chief minister, I am thinking like a mother. There is a big difference between the two.
“If Mayawati feels it is OK to talk about a 14-year-old girl in such derogatory terms in public and the girl is defamed even after her death, then it is very unfortunate… it is very regretful,” she said.
Chowdhury said her ministry’s prime concern was to ensure that people in the public domain should be sensitised to the needs of children.
“All children who are caught in conflict with law should be treated with extra care and sensitivity. We expect that personnel such as police are supposed to have undergone this kind of training. So we are outraged and horrified to hear the loose talk that has resulted even before an investigation has been concluded (in the murder case). That is a violation of the law in itself,” Chowdhury said.
Critical of the statements made by the police about Aarushi, the minister has asked TV channels for CDs of the press conference held by the now transferred IG Gurdarshan Singh about the case.
“At a time when we are creating a separate law for juvenile children, what effect will a police officer speaking like this have on children?” she asked.
“We are getting calls from children on our helplines. They are so scared. Children are living in terror in these circumstances,” Chowdhury added.
According to the minister, the government is examining all laws, not just those dealing with juvenile justice, to ensure the protection of children.
“Laws are there. It would help if there is no porosity or ambiguity in the laws so that they are not misconstrued. A lot more clarity is needed, particularly when it comes to a child who is dead and cannot defend herself,” the minister said.
She said she was also horrified to note the manner in which MMSs and other messages maligning the dead child’s reputation were being bandied about by the media.