Politics over Aarushi murder

The murder of Noida teenager Aarushi Talwar became the new flashpoint between the Congress and Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party Thursday with a central minister coming down heavily on state Chief Minister Mayawati for “politicising” the sensational murder case.

Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury expressed her “anguish and pain” over Mayawati’s statement that the “Congress party has been politicising the Aarushi murder case on the pretext of showing sensitivity to the bereaved families.”

“My reaction is that of great sadness. 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,” Chowdhury said while reacting to Mayawati’s remarks earlier Thursday favouring a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Aarushi’s murder.

Mayawati said she would be writing to the centre on this. However, even before the letter could be sent, Minister of State for Home Shriprakash Jaiswal said the case was not “fit” for the CBI.

“The Aarushi murder case is not fit for a CBI enquiry. The Uttar Pradesh special task force is already probing the matter,” he said in New Delhi

Mayawati, in a statement read out in Lucknow Thursday, 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,” the chief minister maintained.

“Why is Mayawati so concerned about this case instead of worrying about law and order?” Chowdhury retorted.

“She should be seeking answers from the Noida police. Is she trying to say that a police officer can get away with saying that the girl was ‘as characterless as her father’?” the minister asked.

“Is this a political yardstick with which we measure public domain, decency and human values?” wondered the angry minister.

Aarushi, a 15-year-old student of Delhi Public School (Noida) was found dead May 16 with her throat slit and multiple stab injuries on her face, chest and neck. The family’s domestic help, 45-year-old Hemraj, who the police initially named as the killer, was also found murdered on the terrace of the house the next day.

Aarushi’s dentist father Rajesh Talwar was arrested May 23 for the murders.

Chowdhury had May 27 accused the Uttar Pradesh police of “insensitivity” in its handling of the case and for making statements that maligned the teenager.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights that comes under Chowdhury’s ministry, has also written to the Uttar Pradesh government expressing its anguish over the “derogatory” language used by Inspector General (Meerut range) Gurdarshan Singh at a press conference May 23, who stated that Talwar had killed Aarushi because he objected to her closeness to Hemraj.

Reservation system needs relook, says Bainsla

Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, spearhading an agitation to press for ST status for his community, suggested it was time to exclude some castes which have already benefited from quota and include new ones that ‘deserve and require’ it.

Acknowledging that the quota space itself was getting increasingly crowded and keeping in mind the court ruling that reservation cannot exceed 49 per cent, Bainsla said that the ‘entire reservation system needs a relook’.

He said no review had so far taken place about the extent of benefit to castes enjoying the reservation.

Such an exercise should be undertaken to exclude castes which have benefited by it and bring in its purview those castes which ‘deserve and require’ quota, the Gujjar leader said.

“The best homage for the martyrs is that Gujjars get ST status. The Rajasthan government must send the correct recommendation to the Centre”, said Bainsla who has already rejected Rajasthan government’s suggestion for extending reservation to Gujjars under nomadic tribe status.

On the inconvenience caused by the Gujjars’ agitation, he said, “I regret the inconvenience. We had no other option but to stay here till the ST stats recommendation is sent.”

Asked where does the agitation go from here, Bainsla said, “we have paid the price. We have to stick to this place because we need this (ST status). We deserve this and we fulfill all parameters.”

Gujjar jams all over NCR

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters from the Gujjar community burned tyres and blocked roads leading to New Delhi on Thursday, bringing a battle for state jobs and college quotas in which dozens have died closer to the capital.

Huge traffic jams formed on major highways leading into New Delhi, as ethnic Gujjars, demanding access to state jobs and college quotas, shouted slogans and squatted on main roads on the borders of east and north Delhi.

Thirty seven people, including one policeman, have been killed in the protests.

The Gujjars, who threw stones at police and at places broke windshields of cars and buses, are fighting to be reclassified further down India‘s complex Hindu caste and status system to qualify for government jobs and university places reserved for such groups.

Police cleared most blockades after hours of scuffles. Some train services to towns outside Delhi, including several tourist destinations, remained suspended.

Demonstrations turned violent last week after protesters lynched a policeman and police fired on protesters, killing 36 of them in just a few days.

On Thursday morning, the stick-wielding Gujjar protesters turned away vehicles from the towns of Noida and Gurgaon, home to scores of outsourcing and computer software firms.

Many offices were closed. Some telecom firms such as BlackBerry closed their service centres in these suburbs.

Vikash and Vishal Yadav convicted

Neelam Katara, mother of the murder victim Nitish Katara, on Wednesday termed the trial court
judgement convicting prime accused Vikas and his cousin Vishal Yadav in the case as a ”milestone” and hoped that it would ensure that no other person would meet the fate of her son.

”This is a milestone case and I believe this (judgement) would ensure no other son of any mother would meet such a fate (as that of her son),” she said, in her reaction to the court’s verdict.

She also said that her faith in the judiciary has been strengthened with the judgement.

”My faith in the judiciary have been vindicated and strengthened with the verdict. Now I am feeling a sense of relief and am grateful to God,” she told reporters outside the courtroom in the Patiala House courts here.

The victim’s younger brother Nitin Katara attributed the judgement to her mother’s relentless fight for justice.

”I believe he (Nitish) died for love. He died for freedom of expression, he died for that school of thought…in our generation that we are allowed to make a choice and stand by it and that belief has been vindicated today by this decision.

On being asked why stayed away from the trial for so long, he said my mother was the big force fighting for justice and I did not want to be a distraction for her. ”My mother is my God,” he said.

However, G K Bharti, counsel for Yadavs, said ”it seems that the trial court has given this verdict under some pressures from some quarter.”

On the contrary, Special Public Prosecutor B S Joon said that in view of the evidence, he had firm belief since the very beginning that it was accused who had committed the offence.

”In my mind, it was always there that Vikas and Vishal have committed the gruesome crime and they cannot evade the conviction for their act, and you all saw and heard it today what the court had delivered,” he said, adding that justice has finally been delivered.