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The Gurugram School Murder by Leena Dhankar

My take on the book:

On 8th September 2017 Bhaskar Thakkar dropped his kids in their school in Gurugram around 8 AM and by the time he returned home, he received call from school that his kid was injured. When he reached the first hospital, his son Prince had been shifted to a bigger hospital and by the time he reached there with his wife, seven-year-old Prince had been pronounced dead.

The school bus conductor was arrested by the Gurugram police within hours of the incident, but this hurried arrest was not convincing for Prince’s parents who demanded that the case be handed over to CBI. The CBI investigated the case from scratch and arrested a class eleven student from Prince’s school. Even after six years and fast tracking, the case is still under trial.

The author Leena Dhankar who is a Hindustan Times journalist is one of the first to reach the crime scene even before the Police arrived and she provides an honest, unbiased account of every detail related to the case. The book begins from when Prince’s mother conceived him, followed by details of the murder, the initial investigation and arrest of Amit done by Gurugram. The later parts elaborate on CBI re-investigating and arresting Bholu, the evidence that incriminated Bholu and how the courts decided if Bholu who was a sixteen-year-old minor at the time of crime was to be tried as adult or minor.

Though this is a true crime story, the author presents facts without sensationalizing them or taking sides. Leena presents the perspectives of Prince’s parents, Bholu’s parents, teachers and classmates of Bholu, Amit’s family and even the school when the incident happened. Even the sections where court and police related details are mentioned, the author presents them in a manner that is easy for even common people to understand.

The initial sections with details of the murder are gut-wrenching, while the later parts which highlight the struggle of the victim’s father to bring justice to him bring forward mixed emotions — that fight for justice is a long and expensive battle in this country. Though the incident forever changed the life of these three parties involved, it also prompted parents and schools to introspect the safety measures.

Overall, the book is an honest, sensible account of a sensational and gruesome murder that happened in a school.

My rating: