Life sentence for Noida Muslim couple who killed their daughter and Nepalese servant
by Christopher Sharma
Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar committed murder to punish an alleged affair between their 14 year old daughter and the Nepalese domestic worker, Yam Prasad Banjade . Dating to 2008 , the crime sparked strong debate among Muslim , Hindu and secular Indians. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Banjade’s wife welcomes the judgment. Impoverished, the woman hopes to be compensated for her husband’s murder.

Kathmandu ( AsiaNews) - A special court in Uttar Pradesh ( northern India ) yesterday sentenced Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar to life imprisonment. The wealthy Muslim couple, both dentists, are guilty of the murder of their 14 year old daughter and Yam Prasad Banjade, a Nepalese domestic worker killed in Noida in May 2008.

Originally the Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI ) had asked for the death penalty, but the judges have opted instead for life imprisonment . The couple acted in anger after discovering an alleged affair between their only child and employee. The Talwar's lawyers say they will appeal. Yesterday, hundreds of Nepali women and human rights activists launched a campaign in New Delhi for 16 days against violence against women and against honor killings , very common in Muslim communities .

Interviewed by AsiaNews Khumkala Banjade , wife of Hemraj Banjade , said she was satisfied by the sentence : " I had asked for the death penalty for the murderers of my husband, but I accept the court's verdict against the Talwars". Since her husbands death the woman has been living in abject poverty with a sick child and her mother-in-law of 80. "It was our poverty - she says - that led my innocent husband to his death at the hands of this couple. I ask for compensation for his murder and I hope the Indian court will be able to give justice to me and to my family. "

In these five years, the case of the pair of Noida has been followed by millions of people and has raised many criticisms against the local police accused on several occasions of serious shortcomings. A few hours after the crime, dozens of people, including journalists and television crews and strangers arrived at the house without any police control, compromising the scene. The trial also raised a number of cultural debates among Muslims, Hindus and civil society. Some experts say that the case showed a "clash of cultures " in India, pitting police and conservative sectors of society against the excesses of the upper middle class . Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar were both observant Muslims and according to Islamic community had the right to punish the serious affront committed by the domestic worker and daughter, both adulterers . In order to justify the decision, Judge Shyam Lal also used the passages from the Koran that punish murder.