The tragic death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has stirred up a storm in Bollywood. Ever since the actor was found hanging in his house last month, speculations have been rife about his demise. Although the police have confirmed that his cause of death was suicide, several industry insiders and fans have taken it upon themselves to get 'justice' for Sushant. They have resurfaced the debate on nepotism, and have found a reason to troll, bully or harass anyone who was involved in his life.
Sushant's alleged girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty, has been on the receiving end of the wrath of the citizens. Her fault? If she really loved him, why didn't she try to 'prevent' his suicide? This narrative accurately sheds light on the lack of awareness about mental health in India. Depression is what led Sushant to take a drastic step, and it was nobody's decision but his own. He was clearly suffering, but that doesn't mean someone else can be held responsible for his demise.
Netizens have alleged that Bollywood's inner circle bullied and alienated Sushant, and so they're 'honouring' his memory by...doing the exact same thing to his former girlfriend. Considering that Rhea was close to Sushant, his death must have obviously had a deep impact on her. So when social media was flooded with 'RIPs' after Sushant died, Rhea decided to mourn in peace.
Netizens took her silence as a sign of guilt, and started to troll her on social media. They questioned her love for Sushant because she didn't put up a picture with him. In fact, the trolling got so bad that Rhea had to turn off comments on Instagram. Earlier this week, Rhea finally broke her silence and posted a moving tribute to Sushant on his one-month death anniversary. This time, Sushant's fans flooded her comments section with statements like "bohot jaldi yaad aa gayi?" Damned if you do, and damned if you don't, right?
But the bullying didn't end there. Today, Rhea posted a screenshot of one of the several threats she has been receiving in her inbox ever since Sushant's death. The poster in the message verbally abused her, threatened her with rape and murder, and asked her to commit suicide. Sharing the screenshot on Instagram, Rhea wrote: “I was called a gold digger ..I kept quiet. I was called a murderer ....I kept quiet. I was slut shamed ....I kept quiet. But how does my silence give you the right to tell me that you will get me RAPED and MURDERED if I don’t commit suicide @mannu_raaut ?”
Tagging the cyber crime cell, she asked them to take note of the matter and initiate appropriate action. “Do you realize the seriousness of what you have said? These are crimes, and by law no one, I repeat NO ONE should be subjected to this kind of toxicity and harassment. I request @cyber_crime_helpline @cybercrimeindia to please take the necessary action. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH,” she wrote.
The worst part is, instead of supporting Rhea, Sushant's fans are further harassing her by leaving comments like "@mannu_raaut is right" and "stop playing the victim card". This whole incident has taken an extremely ugly turn and it makes me wonder--when did we as a society collectively lose our humanity? When did we decide that it was okay to bully threaten and harass someone over some assumptions?
By threatening to rape and bully Rhea, the trolls have turned into exactly the kind of people who they are protesting against. Do they think Sushant would have approved of his fans harassing someone he cared about? It's time to let Sushant truly rest in peace, and honour his memory by opening up a dialogue about the importance of mental health.