This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A Pair Of Murders

What was the top story hogging media headlines in India this last week? The open rebellion by the Gujjar people of Rajasthan against the state, that has left about 30 dead in two days? The exploding rate of inflation? The fact that an all out state of civil war exists in Nagaland, with rival groups fighting each other with mortars and machine guns in the streets of the commercial city of Dimapur? No.
It was all about the murder of a 15 year old girl of NOIDA (a Delhi suburb), Arushi Talwar,who was found in her bedroom ten days ago with her throat cut and her head smashed in. First suspicion fell on the family servant, Hemraj, who was missing – but a neighbour later found his corpse on the roof, showing that the police were, let’s say, not exactly on top of their form.
Later, Arushi Talwar’s father, a dentist, was arrested for both murders. According to the official version, which keeps changing, Talwar had chanced upon his daughter and the servant together in “objectionable” circumstances, and had killed them both in a fit of rage. Alternatively, Talwar had had an affair with a colleague, and Arushi had objected, so he killed her (good riddance to the little busybody, wouldn’t you say, hm?), and the servant for good measure. Maybe tomorrow they’ll come up with yet another theory.
While the police case has more holes in it than a colander, it’s not that I’m concerned with right at this moment. I don’t really give a damn whoactually killed this girl – as long as he gets punished eventually.
What I give a damn for is that,
First, the putative murderer, Arushi’s dad, has been tried, convicted, and all but executed by the media, something which routinely happens in India where the police and media treat accused as though they are automatically guilty. Unlike Britain, where the police say things like “A 30 year old man was taken into custody” and leave it at that, the police hear share every little titillating bit with the media while investigations are even still ongoing.
Now, after being convicted by media trial, just suppose the police version (which as I said is fragile at best) fails to stand up in court and Talwar (whether guilty or not) is released. Will he gain his professional reputation back? I say this also from my viewpoint, because I have a lot of crazy patients, and suppose one of them accuses me of something. How do I prove my innocence if the media decides in advance I’m guilty? Even if I’m absolved, how do I get my life back?
Then, with all the pressure of media coverage, isn’t it now imperative to find Talwar guilty, by concocting evidence if need be? So many reputations are riding on this now.
Secondly, as I said before, there are so many other and more important bits of news that are totally ignored by the media. I just wonder – suppose Arushi wasn’t a rich man’s daughter, not one of the members of what the Great Indian Muddle Class considers People Like Us. Suppose she had been poor (or at least lower middle class), ugly, fat and (oh, horrors!) dark. Would the media have spent a single moment reporting on this at all?
You know the answer, don’t you?

Two different news items, on the same issue of The Times Of India, caught my eye.
The first was one from England which said British parents now consider childhood to have ended at eleven – the age where children transit from primary to secondary school – and, in increasing numbers are allowing their children to drink alcohol at home, dye their hair and wear make-up, stay out alone after 11 pm, and have sex with their boyfriends or girlfriends into the bargain; allowing them to spend the nights over.
The second was from much closer home, in Goa, where, on the 18thof February, a fifteen year old British girl named Scarlette Keeling was found dead on the beach, wearing only a bra, with bruises over her body. The police initially said she died of drowning, but she was a good swimmer. Also, she was not just half nude but had recently, said the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, had sexual intercourse. The pathologist found no way of telling if it was consensual.
Keeling had come over with her mother, one Fiona McKeown, who had left her daughter alone in Goa and gone off to Karnataka, further south – and McKeown raised a ruckus that her daughter had been raped and murdered, and that the authorities were hushing it up (well, of course they were. A kid’s rape-murder isn’t good for business.) Since, and only since, she was a foreigner, and since this had the potential to affect tourism, the police re-opened the case.
Immediately some interesting things came up. This girl was rather well known to the locals, since she usually hung around with well-known drug pushers and was a heavy drug user herself. Even the mother admitted this. According to the locals, she (the daughter) used to “pay in kind” for the drugs since she never had any money. Now there’s a euphemism for fucking if I ever heard one!
And at 4 am on the day she died – just three hours before she was discovered dead on the beach – she had left a bar with two men, so drunk she could barely walk.
Of course The Times Of India, which I have previously categorised asIndia’s worst newspaper, didn’t attempt to find any linkages at all between the two reports even though they were almost on the same page. It wouldn’t. But as far as I’m concerned, if Keeling was in fact raped and murdered, her mother was as guilty of the crime as the actual perpetrators.
It’s just another proof of what I’ve been saying for years – they should conduct aptitude tests before allowing anyone to become parents.
Knowing my parents, I wouldn’t have been born then, of course.


I’d said her mother, Fiona McKeown, was as much to blame as any of her actual killers, for leaving her alone in a foreign land.
McKeown, of course, is playing the sympathy card for all she’s worth, and is getting sympathy from people who should know better – in the media and also elsewhere.
I wasn’t exactly surprised, though, when English media began telling the world the truth about McKeown herself:
She lives in a broken down trailer in Devon, in scenes of squalor, with her family using sleeping bags instead of beds; she had nine children with five men, and none of those children has attended school. All of those children are consumers of alcohol, and the eldest broke his neck in the recent past in a car accident. She once did a year in jail for attacking a man with a knife. She knew Scarlette was using drugs and having sex, and she was “OK with that” – in her own words.
Doesn’t quite sound like the ideal family McKeown claims she had, does it now?
As for Scarlette’s experience in Goa – she told a friend that she was terrified at having been left all alone and without money, and she was sleeping around because at least that gave her food and some kind of shelter. Poor kid.
Meanwhile McKeown’s going around telling everyone she’s convinced the real killers of her daughter are yet to be arrested. It sort of keeps her in the limelight, doesn’t it? And the Indian media, at least, are swallowing her act whole.
And this is the woman who is, absolutely certainly, going to make her daughter’s murder her ticket to a book deal and big-time success. Just watch.
Even hanging by the intestines is too good for her.   


I've been writing in these pages on the Scarlette Keeling murder case and how I felt that Keeling's mother, Fiona McKeown, was at least as responsible as her actual killers - for putting her needlessly, in fact criminally, at risk. And I'm far from alone in that point of view.

The thing is that the media, and certain politicians, find it kind of fashionable to say that those of us who don't think McKeown is an angel on earth are engaged in "blaming the victim".

Excuse me?

Fiona McKeown is not the victim. Scarlette Keeling, a 15 year old girl who was left on her own in a foreign country without money, forced to put out for food and shelter, is the victim. If Fiona McKeown doesn't turn her "fight for justice" for Scarlette into a book deal and future stardom, I'm much mistaken. She is about as far from a victim as it's possible to be.

If your child happens to be run over by a hit and run driver on the street, it's a tragedy, all right. But if you happened to have pushed your child into the street, knowing what might happen (don't forget Goa has had a rash of attacks on foreigners for months now) - you can't then say it isn't important what you did, the f*cking driver alone is responsible.

And nowe anti-McKeowns do not think the girl's killers should get away scot free. That is a deliberate distortion of our views.

We just think McKeown should pay the price for her crime as well and not be allowed to profit from it, something she is bent on doing.    

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