Ever since the contentious interview of actress Rhea Chakraborty with India Today has been aired, the media house has been relentless in its pursuit of legitimising her claims and whitewashing her alleged role in the death of the 34-year-old actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
On Friday, India Today published an ‘exclusive’ news article titled, “Exclusive: Rhea Chakraborty’s school photo from Agra, teachers say she was a bright student.” While the academic prowess of the actress had nothing to do with Sushant’s case, the media publication nevertheless went ahead with the story to make an emotional appeal in defence of the accused.
Rhea was a outgoing student whom the teachers loved, claims report
Quoting one of her teachers from St Clare’s Senior Secondary School in Agra, the report stated, “She (Rhea) was full of confidence even at that young age and her intelligence was evident from the way she interacted during class, trying to answer every question posed by the teachers.” Besides, her schoolmates had reportedly claimed that Rhea was an extrovert who had a keen interest in extra-curricular activities. The report further added that she was ‘bright in studies’ and a favourite of her teachers and seniors in school.
Netizens react to the India Today story
Reacting strongly to the bizarre news coverage, a Twitter user advised the news publication to refrain from being a ‘sell-out.’ He tweeted, “Itna bhi mat biko yaar (Don’t sell yourself to this extent).”
itna bhi mat biko yaar https://t.co/1LsaNcFToQ— Chirag Barjatya (@chiragbarjatyaa) August 28, 2020
Another user mocked that Rhea Chakraborty should be given a gallantry award for being a bright student.
I request indian govt to issue some gallantry medal to Rhea & best journalisms award to @IndiaToday for this shocking revelation about Rhea’s Childhood which can completely turn case in favour of her. Also Mr. News Breaking Can Get Some Awards at Medison @sardesairajdeep https://t.co/cN95VtrAaF— Abhay Tiwari (@theaibbi) August 28, 2020
Slamming Rajdeep Sardesai for calling Sushant Singh Rajput as a ‘small-time actor‘, another Twitter user RJ tweeted, “SSR was not a big star to bring all the focus on his death but Rhea is an international star for India Today.”
A popular Twitter user, Ankur Singh, highlighted the irony behind the contradictory narrative pushed by the news channel. He wrote, “Rhea is innocent because she was a bright student. But, AIEEE rank 7th Sushant is drunkard, drug addict, bipolar, depressed, and claustrophobic.”
Rhea is innocent because she was bright student.— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) August 28, 2020
AIEEE rank 7th Sushant is drunkard, drug addict, bipolar, depressed and claustrophobic. pic.twitter.com/SfpaY1GE9i
Some users condemned the ‘white washing’ attempts by India Today.
India Today draws flak for ‘scripted’ interview with Rhea Chakraborty
Following the interview of Rhea Chakraborty with ‘journalist’ Rajdeep Sardesai, India Today drew criticism from several quarters for trying to legitimise several dubious claims made by the actress in her defence. The first is the claim that Sushant had claustrophobia of flying. It is, however, known that Sushant was enthusiastic about aviation, he was training to become a pilot, had enjoyed paragliding and had also taken flying simulator training.
Besides, Rajdeep Sardesai seemed to operate on the premise that Sushant Singh Rajput’s alleged “mental health issues” are an established fact. However, in reality, the actor’s family has been vehemently denying it and no evidence of expert opinion and medical history has been revealed so far.
The Headmaster’s son syndrome
In a bid to absolve radical Islamists of their complicity in acts of terror, the left-liberal jamaat often resorts to sob stories. This is done as a part of a vile agenda that seeks to legitimise the ‘Kashmir struggle’ and peddle the Pakistani narrative that Indian security forces harass innocent citizens in Kashmir.
Perhaps, the most brazen attempt to whitewash the crimes committed by a terrorist was done by none other than ‘illustrious journalist’ Barkha Dutt. Soon after Burhan Wani, then Hizbul Commander in Kashmir was neutralised by the Armed Forces in an encounter in 2016, Dutt lost no time in putting out a tweet describing Wani as a “headmaster’s son” instead of calling him simply what he was, a wretched terrorist.
Similarly, terrorist Riaz Naikoo was called a ‘maths teacher’, and Zakir Musa was branded as a ‘fashionable boy’ by Indian leftist media houses.