A few days back, a father-son pair died in police custody due to brutal injuries and gruesome violence. The case and the gory details of the violence have sent social media and human rights activists into outrage. Following the George Floyd incident, which shook the world and awoke Indians to the horrific extent of police brutality, the outcry has been more assertive.
Many Southern Indian celebrities had come to the fore with a demand for justice joining the netizens in the push for justice for the victims. However, Bollywood was relatively absent from the discussion until today. After so much criticism following George Floyd's death, and netizens argued 'selective activism' certain celebrities did post about it showing some solidarity. Can we consider this a much-needed change of heart?
Tuticorin 'custodial death'
On June 19, 59-year-old P Jayaraj and his 31-year-old son Bennicks (Fenix) were taken into police custody on account of violating lockdown rules by keeping their mobile shop running, in Tuticorin. But, they wouldn't return home.
The incident has shocked India and begun a furious demand for justice across the country. Details from the pair's time in custody emerged in videos and reports that they were tortured, sodomised leading to fatal injuries are being widely circulated. Many are demanding justice for the father and son.
Jayaraj passed away on June 22nd, and his son soon after on June 23rd. The families have demanded a probe and justice be meted out to the police officials who were responsible for the gruesome violence.
Online outrage over Jayaraj and Fenix
Following the violent, gut-wrenching incident, the news broke on the internet, sending netizens into a frenzy. The incident comes after George Floyd's horrific death in the United States of America.
Many are demanding justice for the father and son on social media. The incident has triggered a backlash against police brutality which has often gone unchecked in India. Activists appealed to the nation to take a stand, considering the support lent to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many South Indian actors, celebrities and sports personalities also lent their voice to the protest. Shops around Tamil Nadu will remain shut around the state today as a show of protest. However, justice is still taking a long course.
Bollywood enters the debate
Following George Floyd's death, many Bollywood celebs came forward to show support and lend their voice to the cause. They posted heartfelt posts on police brutality and how the cycle of violence would end.
Bollywood has often been criticised about not standing up for issues on home turf. The confidence with which they stood up for matters abroad was absent here. Citing 'selective activism' celebrities faced the brunt of their hypocrisy. Giving celebrities the benefit of the doubt, it is impossible to stand up for every issue that takes place. However, what the internet is asking for is consistency.
Trolling aside, netizens have a solid argument, that Bollywood's reliability when it comes to amplifying voices has by far been opportunistic and far and few in between. Now, however, certain celebrities have come forward. Some like Priyanka Chopra who've been criticised of selective activism. And then some who often speak up every time there's something going on. Still, some who spoke up last time, not long ago, left the debate. Maybe scared into silence.
Even if silence speaks louder than words, this is not a time for that. Bollywood has been facing terrible PR and some crises of their own doing. However, their absence when it comes to issues, and with their fans looking to them for action, maybe it's time for Bollywood to reflect.