In an interview to Hotstar, for the first time after their acquittal, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar have spoken about their life after Aarushi, their 4-year-long jail term, and the road ahead as they re-enter society and seek justice for their daughter who was murdered nine years ago.
While the interview cannot be called a “tell-all” as the Talwars, who stepped out of jail only two weeks ago, still seemed shaken. At points in the interview Nupur Talwar even says that it is “painful” to talk about certain things and she would not like to go on.
Fourteen-year-old Aarushi was found murdered in the Talwars’ Noida flat on 16 May 2008. The next day, their domestic help Hemraj’s body was found on the roof of the building.
In November 2013 a lower court found the Talwars guilty of both murders and sentenced them to life imprisonment. They were acquitted by the Allahabad High Court on 13 October. Here are some things they said in the interview.
‘We Stand Vindicated’
Speaking of the day they received news of their acquittal, Rajesh Talwar said that he received the news from a group of boys in jail who came and hugged him. “We were crying. A big load has been lifted from our back,” he said.
Nupur described it as a “miracle”, saying that the news spread very fast in the jail. They were allowed to meet each other for a bit after the verdict was announced.
It was a very emotional moment for us. We were thinking of and missing Aarushi. That’s one tragedy we can’t push past.
“We could see a lot of people outside. And we could see that it had attracted a lot of attention. It’s a little scary to face people; to go back into the world and face society,” said Rajesh, talking about the day they stepped out of jail. Inside Dasna jail, he said, everybody believed that they were innocent. They had a friend who helped them through it. “But public perception has changed,” he said.
“The very nice thing about this was the way the people in Dasna had reacted to our conviction. They were supportive. They would tell me that this would be over after a while. Slowly we got used to living there,” said Rajesh.
The first two years after the conviction when their bail plea got rejected and their matter was not being heard, were the worst, they said. It is at this time that a friend came into their lives and motivated them to work for others.
Confinement is not an easy thing to face. It’s losing your freedom, facing stigma.
Rajesh and Nupur offered to work at the clinic in Dasna which was very rudimentary when they got there. Rajesh asked the medical college there for equipment and the authorities were happy to oblige, he said. “I felt that if I work I’ll be able to serve people and also distract my mind. Do some sewa. Help people. People were very grateful and because of that I got a lot of respect there.”, Rajesh said.
Nupur recounts how she left Aarushi with her mother when she was just three months old in order to join work. Aarushi was brought up by her grandparents. “I remember her telling me that she wanted to very famous,” Nupur smiled.
Rajesh described her as a compassionate, affectionate child.
He recounts an incident when he bought some gifts for Aarushi and she gave some of them to a friend who had just lost her father.
Nupur said that she started seeing Aarushi in a lot of young girls at the prison who had come with their mothers.
In particular there was a young girl who I grew very close to. She used to sleep on the next bed. I could see a lot of Aarushi in her. She cared for me, spoke to me as if Aarushi did. For me it was like I had Aarushi with me while in jail. Those 4 years I survived in jail because I had that young girl with me.
“We Have Survived, That’s All”
The worst suffering that any human can go through is losing your child and that too in such a manner. It’s been very difficult for the last nine and a half years since this incident. And we are still standing there. You try to seek happiness, relief or consolation from helping others, people in suffering, helping little girls. It is not something that is easy to face. It’s an adversity that’s very difficult to face. We have just survived, that’s all.
He added that from the parts of the Allahabad High Court’s judgement that he had read, it seemed like a complete exoneration for the Talwar couple.
On Krishna and The Justice System
Both Rajesh and Nupur said that they had very limited interaction with their compounder Krishna and that they were both very shocked when the legal process was unfolding.
It is very clear to everybody. I don’t need to repeat it again and again. I want to now just live with Aarushi’s memories and do some work for her. This should never happen to anybody again. The system should see its own issues and improve them.
While talking about the issue, Nupur says that she’s feeling uncomfortable and cannot do it anymore. When asked who she thinks killed Aarushi, she said, “I leave it to God.”
The Talwars also said that all scientific tests had cleared them of any crime.
The Talwars said that they tried to reach out to Hemraj’s family even at the time of the tragedy, but received no response from them.
I feel for him and would want to do whatever I can. I’m still going into society. Of course my tragedy is very large, but I still feel for him. I have to stand on my own feet. People are supporting me at the moment. So whatever help I can do for him, I’ll gladly do it.