Rhea Chakraborty
Rhea Chakraborty (C) arrives at the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office for enquiry regarding Sushant Singh Rajput case, in Mumbai on September 6, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

“Not part of drugs chain”

“No criminal antecedents”

“Didn’t harbour Rajput, he was in his own house”

All equal before law, no special liability to stars”

This is the verbatim bail order of the Bombay High Court in the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) case against actor Rhea Chakraborty, partner of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The point by point High Court order was a slap in the face of the NCB, which conducted a hugely dodgy investigation, tailor-made for a political script. Rhea Chakraborty all of 28 years old has literally been hung drawn and quartered in a media trial and unhinged attacks by the Rajput family. She has been called a “vishkanya” (serpent woman), a Bengali woman who practised black magic on Rajput, a drug supplier, a schemer and someone who was living off Rajput.

The one conclusion you can safely arrive at, post the treatment of Rhea, the Hathras teen gang raped and murdered and a six-year-old child also raped and murdered that the patriarchy thinks it is a crime to be a woman. Your world can be upended by any man or any irresponsible channel using your sex as a weapon against you. The way Rhea’s reputation has been tarred, she will scarred for life. Clearly, Rhea is a very strong woman who has suffered the ordeal of being jailed for a month for no crime. But, what was done to Rhea should worry every Indian. If the government for whatever reasons that motivate them decide to throw the book at you and indulge in vendetta you are done for. This when India is supposed to be the world’s largest democracy.

Consider these facts. Three separate central agencies are still carrying out a probe on Rhea. The BJP’s Panna pramukh channels hung her out to try smearing and defaming her with zero proof. Gupteshwar Pandey, former Bihar director general of police, used the Sushant case to springboard himself into politics. The Modi government and the Bihar government cynically used the Rajput case as an election issue in the Bihar assembly elections voting this month and as a way to target Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray. The Rajput family, which did not seem to be present for Sushant when he was alive, have now launched a high voltage and hysterical campaign post his death. Being grief-stricken does not mean that you detach yourself from reality. As the vultures scream and hashtag justice for Sushant what about Justice for Rhea?

Read more from Swati Chaturvedi

I can confirm to you personally how terrible it is to be targeted on social media. How your daily lot is death and rape threats. I have faced an identical campaign as the one carried out against Rhea. And, trust me you lose a huge part of yourself however, brave you are.

The only thing India needs to learn from both the Rhea case and the rape and murder of the Hathras teen which now is being spun as an “honour killing” whatever that means to the twisted spinners, is to stop attacking women. The national sport of India is neither cricket nor hockey. It is to target women. And, this needs to change or we are a shameful people.

Swati Chaturvedi, Special to Gulf News-1592296808900