Repeat after me, depression is a consequence of drug abuse. So called high society rich star children who claim to be classy and have a good upbringing ask their manager ,” MAAL HAI KYA?” #boycottBollywoodDruggies #DeepikaPadukone
Above is the tweet from actor Kangana Ranaut on Monday night. The post is an obvious jibe at Deepika’s tweet on June 15 – the day after the news of Sushant Singh Rajput’s apparent suicide surfaced. A long time champion of mental health who has been actively promoting awareness on the same, Deepika had then written on Twitter – “Repeat after me: Depression is an illness.”
Kangana, who has been taking digs at Deepika for the past few weeks, tweeted her statement as part of her online crusade against what she calls the ‘Bollywood Drug Mafia.’ She also shared the link to a television channel which claims to have gotten hold of private Whatsapp messages, which, the channel claims, implicated Deepika in drug use.
A few weeks ago, on a video she shared on Twitter, Kangana had taunted Deepika by making a leap of logic and basing opinions on the unverified claim that the Padmaavat actress suffered Depression due a break-up that happened 10 years ago.
While mental health has been a topic of discussion in India over the past few years, the nation is far from the awareness and facilities essential to fight the stigma and achieve wellness. Kangana’s statement that ‘depression is a consequence of drug abuse’ is not just factually wrong but also encouraging of the stigma around mental illnesses – something which many, including Deepika, has been fighting against.
Prominent political activist Shehla Rashid was among the first ones to call out Kangana for her statement. Although the actor had responded to Shehla in a tweet, claiming that she was speaking particularly of Deepika, Kangana’s tweet was later deleted.
Hello, Doctor Ranaut. Depression is NOT a consequence of drug abuse or a rich kid syndrome. By drawing these imaginary connections, you are stigmatizing those who suffer from depression, and discouraging them from seeking help.@dr_samirparikh @Chaiti @VidyaKrishnan @srivatsayb https://t.co/xwiJDJwmMu
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) September 22, 2020
Dr Sumaiya Sheikh, neuro scientist and founder of Alt News Science, also threw light on the seriousness of the issue of misinformation:
Hi @TwitterIndia & @misskaul! There has been a consistent effort to misinform people about clinical depression and other conditions in psychiatry by K Ranaut & previously by V Agnihotri. Can we please make sure that high follower accounts do not harm the society in this way? pic.twitter.com/AgW4pDzmn8
— Dr Sumaiya Shaikh (@Neurophysik) September 22, 2020
India Today journalist Chaiti Narula shared this, calling out the hypocrisy of Kangana Ranaut’s statement:
Well #KanganaRanaut who admits being a drug addict now takes a moral high ground with mind you with Y+ security cover on the taxpayers money. Vicious defamatory attacks on people, name calling, getting personal on national TV. She needs a break! And maybe rehab. pic.twitter.com/rGJkrjqzBF
— Chaiti Narula (@Chaiti) September 22, 2020
Journalist Rohini Singh also pointed out the double standards of this entire episode, as only women, and no men, from Bollywood are accused of drug use.
As usual, why are only women being targeted for allegedly smoking pot in Bollywood?
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) September 22, 2020
Firebrand journalist Rana Ayyub also wrote about the deplorable condition of law and order in the country, and how media-sensationalism takes the spotlight away from the more relevant topics that actually affect the citizens.
Kangana Ranaut tweets, Times Now, Republic debate, Agencies act on the hear say and a witch hunt begins. This is law and order in India right now. You will not hear a word on the Adani corruption today.
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) September 22, 2020
Ex-Buzzfeed star Andre Borges also shared similar thoughts.
Ask yourself why every news channel is currently covering Deepika right now, and not the farmer bills that were passed yesterday through a voice vote, or the new versions of labour bills introduced today.
— Andre Borges (@borges) September 22, 2020
Rana also referred to how anyone who stands up against the incumbent government is subjected to such witch hunts. (Deepika was attacked by online online for supporting JNU students in early January, during the anti-CAA protests.)
If you have spoken against the regime, stood in solidarity with the students, rejected fascism, expect the agencies to be at your doorstep the next few weeks. You think its about weed or hash ? This is a punishment for speaking out and a message to all critics to fall in line
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) September 22, 2020
Author and journalist Swati Chaturvedi also seemed to agree with Rana’s point of view:
“drug mafia in Bollywood” the new “anti national” & “urban naxal” for the Bjp & it’s proxies
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) September 22, 2020
As the noise around Rhea Chakraborty is dying down after her arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau a few days ago, it looks like the story which started as a crusade for justice for Sushant Singh Rajput has taken a new turn – and this time, they have found another woman to victimise.