The parents of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar have been found guilty of her murder and that of family servant Hemraj Banjade. The couple, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar have been sentenced to life in prison for the double murder.
Aarushi was found at home with her throat slit and a serious head wound in May 2008; her parents initially tried to blame the servant, Banjade, but his body was found on the roof of the family home the very next day.
"Parents are the best protectors of their own children," Judge Shyam Lal said when reading his verdict. "That is the order of human nature but there have been freaks in the history of mankind where the father and mother become the killer of their own progeny."
The Talwars plan to appeal the life sentence and blame circumstantial evidence for their guilty verdict. Prosecutors alleged that the parents found their young daughter in an intimate situation with the servant and responded in a fit of rage. Defense attorneys, however, blamed the media coverage for influencing the verdict and painting their clients as cold-blooded murderers.
"We are deeply disappointed, hurt and anguished for being convicted for a crime that we have not committed," the Talwars said in a statement. "We refuse to feel defeated and will continue to fight for justice."
"There were so many circumstances that proved that no one could have committed the murder other than the two accused," R.K. Saini of the Central Bureau of Investigation, told Reuters. "The court has convicted them after going through the chain of circumstantial evidence."
Some organizations have praised the media attention on the Talwar murder, and they hope it will bring new attention and light to the problem of "honor killings."
"Now there is some progress and people are talking about it," Sociologist Dipankar Gupta told Reuters.