Dear TV Anchors, Avoid Sushant Death Drama, Let Him Rest in Peace

On Sushant Singh Rajput’s first death anniversary, let’s hope the media does not revive the TV studio trials. 

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Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta, Puneet Bhatia
Camera: Shiv Kumar Maurya

Yeh Jo India Hai Na… On 14 June 2020, it lost the talented Sushant Singh Rajput. He was just 34 years old. 'Kai Po Che', 'Dhoni', 'Sonchiriya', 'Chichhore' – some great work in a short career.

But sadly, what Sushant may be remembered equally for – is the disgraceful media drama and circus that followed his tragic death.

Mumbai Police, Patna Police, politicians in Maharashtra, politicians in Bihar and Delhi, screaming media anchors and journalists, Bollywood personalities – big, medium, small, lawyers, ex-cops, forensic experts, doctors, psychiatrists, influencers, cooks, postmen, delivery boys, neighbours, drivers, friends, associates – everyone had a part in the circus!

Sushant Death Media Circus: Girlfriend Rhea Hounded, Demonised

Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakravorty was hounded, abused and demonised – TV studio juries accused her of murder, drug-dealing, siphoning off Sushant’s money – it was distasteful to watch.

Audiences too were glued to the drama, gripped by every spun out hashtag:

  • #SushantTruthNow
  • #1stStepToSSRJustice
  • #SushantWasKilled
  • #SushantRheaTwist
  • #ArrestRheaNow
  • #SSRWarriors
  • #DishaSushantMurderLink
  • #globalprotest4ssr
  • #CBITakesOver
  • #CBIForSSR

and there were many many more...

A year later, we must ask ourselves, yeh sab kya tha? Arnab Goswami screaming drugs, Kangana Ranaut claiming murder, breathless reporters conducting car chases – what was this all about? The answer, in one word, is DISTRACTION.

Distraction From a Raging Pandemic, Migrant Crisis

The day Sushant died – 14 June 2020, India saw 321 COVID deaths, 11,000 new cases. The total death toll was nearing 10,000. We had almost 3.5 lakh total cases.

122 million Indians lost their jobs during the first lockdown – twice the entire population of France! We had all seen the misery of the migrant workers walking back to their villages. Each of us knew someone whose business had suffered, or who’d lost a job. So, had India’s COVID management, had the lockdown failed? How and when would India’s economy recover?

Tough questions were about to be asked and so, a distraction was needed. And what better than a cooked up murder mystery featuring:

  • A troubled Bollywood star
  • A greedy, murderous girlfriend
  • A wronged family
  • Drugs, money, salacious whatsapp chats
  • Multiple theories being pedaled by multiple police forces

It was the perfect DISTRACTION from the really bad news in the real world of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crash.


Distraction From Galwan Skirmish and Chinese Incursion

And then, what happened a day after Sushant’s death?

On 15 June 2020, 20 of our soldiers were killed by the Chinese on Indian soil, on India’s side of the LAC, at the Galwan valley in Ladakh. In a planned operation, the Chinese occupied Indian territory at the Galwan Valley, and between Finger 4 and Finger 8, north of Pangong Lake and most crucially at Depsang – threatening supply lines to Indian troops at Siachin Glacier.

While the ‘godi media’ did its sabre-rattling, and went wow when some Chinese apps were banned, there were serious questions that needed answers – Why was the government caught napping as China occupied Indian territory? What was our plan now? How would we take our land back? The solution again, was DISTRACTION! Instead of asking the tough questions, the ‘godi media’, sorry, the government-aligned media – put the nation on a slow intravenous drip of Sushant hashtags. And, Yeh Jo India Hai Na… it fell for it.

Vaccine Roadmap: Promises and Ground Reality

When we look back today, we realise that the Rhea Chakravarty witch-hunt ensured that many other important questions were also not asked.

On 15 August 2020, PM said that the roadmap for vaccine production and delivery to the public in the shortest time, is ready, about India’s vaccine plans.

The PM claimed there was a vaccination road map. But what was that roadmap? India needed 280 crore doses to double-vaccinate its population.

So, what was being done to raise vaccine production capacity? Would Serum Institute, and more importantly, Bharat Biotech, which had a very low production capacity, get immediate financial support? How much? By when? And when this was not done right through 2020, we didn’t ask why.

Also, why were we putting national ego above saving lives and relying only on the ‘Made In India’ vaccines? Were we pre-booking vaccines from pharma companies in the West? When nothing was being done about that, again, we did not ask why.

The pandemic’s first wave had exposed our health infrastructure – shortage of ventilators, beds, doctors and nurses. Plans were announced to fund oxygen plants via PM CARES. When those oxygen plants didn’t materialise, we didn’t ask why. The result – months later, the second COVID surge found us unprepared again, costing lakhs of Indian lives.

Let Sushant Singh Rajput Genuinely Rest in Peace...

Yeh Jo India Hai Na… it wants to know why so many prime time TV anchors and journalists compromised their objectivity and became supari journalists?

Their daily newsroom-lynching of Rhea Chakravorty, manufactured specifically to distract India’s public, made sure that for months, no crucial questions were asked.

Do they accept today, that if questions had been asked on time, resulting in government action well in time, thousands of Indian lives would have been saved?

As for Sushant Singh, let’s hope his tragic death is not raked up yet again as a DISTRACTION. Let’s genuinely allow him to Rest in Peace.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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