By Arré Bench Sep. 07, 2020
On Sunday, as Rhea Chakraborty arrived at the Narcotics Control Bureau in connection with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, she was mobbed by journalists. The visuals of the flustered actor, with dozens of cameras shoved in her face, were met with a wave of criticism on social media.
Five months after the coronavirus pandemic struck, all citizens of the country have been urged to continue maintaining social distancing norms and stay away from large gatherings. On Sunday, however, as Rhea Chakraborty arrived at the Narcotics Bureau in connection with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, all those norms seemed to have been thrown out of the window, with hundreds of journalists hounding and pushing her, even as she was being escorted by the Mumbai police personnel at the time.
The visuals of the flustered actor being mobbed by journalists, with dozens of cameras shoved in her face, were met with a wave of criticism on social media, where a number of prominent personalities termed the behaviour of the reporters disgusting, and in violation of Chakraborty’s personal space.
A hundred men, their cameras touching her, violating her space, her body. This could be you tomorrow. But you will choose silence because watching this is fun right now. She is the villain of your amoral world. A country whose Prime Minister claims to champion womens rights pic.twitter.com/P4M8zOHeXh
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) September 7, 2020
A former IPS officer remarked that this incident of Rhea Chakraborty being mobbed was proof that “perversity had crossed all limits”, especially considering that the actor had just been brought in for questioning, and hadn’t even been convicted of any crime yet.
Rhea has not even been charged yet, not to speak of conviction. But the way the channels have been humiliating her, proves that the public stripping of Draupadi was not an aberration. Duryodhan and Dushasan live on, albeit in TV studios now. Perversity has crossed all limits now.
— Dr. N. C. Asthana, IPS (Retd) (1986-2019) (@NcAsthana) September 6, 2020
Chakraborty had been asked to appear at the NCB headquarters in Mumbai for questioning in a drugs case linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Her brother Showik Chakraborty and the late actor’s manager Samuel Miranda have also been accused and arrested for supposed links with drug cartels.
After Rhea Chakraborty was mobbed on Sunday, however, social media users also drew comparisons to the trials of actors Fardeen Khan and Sanjay Dutt, who despite being accused of drug-related activity, had never been treated this unfairly.
Don't remember Sanjay Dutt, Fardeen Khan, and DJ Aqeel being labelled kInGpInS or part of a NeXuS for possessing coke, heroin, and e as much as Rhea is being harassed for smoking up. Just saying; public memory isn't THAT short, @TimesNow and @republic. Burn in hell.
— Mitski's left hand (@dire_nair) September 6, 2020
Do you remember the media going after Salman Khan this way ? Or Fardeen Khan or Sanjay Dutt? Or for that matter all the sanghi Sadhus who smoke pot ?
— Pearl Shah (@PearlShah) September 6, 2020
Actress Gauahar Khan said, in fact, that she hadn’t seen even the worst criminals being treated like this after their convictions, let alone during questioning.
I haven’t seen the worst of the criminals being treated like this even after being convicted! Let there be a trial !!! Absolutely disgusted with the way the media is treating her ! #shame https://t.co/fpnxqd7IM7
— Gauahar Khan (@GAUAHAR_KHAN) September 6, 2020
Some, including senior journalists, also took umbrage to the fact that actor Kangana Ranaut was granted Y-Plus security for an alleged threat to her life, while Chakraborty received no such protection, despite being manhandled on a daily basis.
So @Tweet2Rhea who is being molested & manhandled on a daily basis gets no protection but Kangana Ranaut gets police security. Connect the dots…
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) September 7, 2020
Several members of the Bollywood industry also expressed their disgust at the incident, with actor Swara Bhasker saying this was the lowest our country had ever stooped.
India… witness our lowest! Shameful witch hunt! Disgusting.. https://t.co/P8jIZjhKrR
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) September 6, 2020
Actor Dia Mirza said the behaviour of the reporters was “reprehensible”, while Tapsee Pannu said the actor was being “lynched off her rights” in the name of justice.
The law must and will take it’s course. This behaviour reprehensible in every way. Enough! Why can’t Rhea be given space and the right to physical distancing? Why are the media behaving like vultures? Please please give her space 🙏🏻 Stop attacking/dehumanising her & her family. https://t.co/FNb6fNy36o
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) September 6, 2020
In the name of Justice these people have lynched a human being off her right to live even before proven guilty. I sincerely pray Karma finds the address of each n every human being part of this lowest low of mankind we are witness to. https://t.co/Qkkhnfup53
— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) September 6, 2020
Filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava noted that no amount of hate and venom was enough for Indians, who were not as interested in the real issues plaguing our country as they were in “burning Rhea at the stake”.
No thoughts about the economy, the pandemic or anything else of consequence. Indians are only interested in burning Rhea at the stake. That is what makes our people happy and fulfilled and validated. No amount of hate and venom is enough. We are sick. Very very sick.
— Alankrita Shrivastava (@alankrita601) September 6, 2020
Senior journalist Barkha Dutt also took to Twitter to express her dismay at Sunday’s incident, reminding her colleagues in the media industry that it could easily have been any one of them in this situation.
Not going to reshare that awful video of Rhea Chakraborty being mobbed by murderous TV cameras. To all the tv veterans lamenting, er, why have you not ensured anything different? Media colleagues should remember, tomorrow it will be them. Let's start with their WhatsApps.
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) September 6, 2020
On Monday, meanwhile, reports said that additional barricades had been installed at the NCB headquarters where Rhea Chakraborty will appear for a second day of questioning. But as the last two months have proved, those barricades will hardly go a long way in preventing the incessant vilification of the actor, who most journalists seem to forget, recently lost someone dear to her as well.