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Sunday, January 17, 2021

#JusticeforSSR in Melbourne makes their mark

Seven billboards reading 'Australia Unites for SSR' went up across the city.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

To many, the case surrounding Sushant Singh Rajput’s demise had seemed murky. Hashtags like #JusticeforSSR, #SCOrderCBIforSushant, and #CBIMustForSushant were trending on social media, asking for further investigation.

After much anticipation, the Indian Supreme Court officially ordered an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the circumstances of the actor’s demise.

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In the fight for a CBI verdict, a Melbourne-based Facebook group Ban Bollywood Bullies – Unite Australia for SSR spearheaded the call for justice from Australia. Seven billboards were placed across the city, raising international attention towards a CBI inquiry.

“It’s a big thing to have billboards in Australia about the case,” explained Anupama Khanna Arora. An active member of the Facebook group, she is friends with Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister Shweta Singh Kirti, who had been a driving force behind #JusticeforSSR. Shweta also posted about the billboards on her social media.

To fund the billboards, Ban Bollywood Bullies – Unite Australia for SSR raised almost $4,900 through its 1,000 members. The seven billboards went up in Melbourne for the period of four weeks.

“I looked for billboard companies and compared prices. We eventually got a good deal for $3,500 with Civic Outdoor Billboards and Outdoor Advertising. Due to the pandemic, it has been hard for advertisers and we got a good price,” Arora told Indian Link.

The seven billboards are located across Melbourne at Southbank, Williams Landing, Wantirna South, Epping, Bentleigh, Derrimut, and Bayswater.

Coordinating with admin Divya Bakshi and Sudhir Juneja of Ban Bollywood Bullies – Unite Australia for SSR, Arora and the group were able to put together the funds and logistics towards these billboards.

“We received an overwhelming response. The group had 1,000 members when the billboards went up. Within 24 hours, we had another 1,000 members join us,” shared Divya Bakshi.

The group even received coverage from RepublicTV in India from an unexpected source – a new member of the group shared images of the billboard with the channel and took credit for the initiative.

“Everyone has the right to reach out and share their thoughts on Sushant and the case, but they shouldn’t take credit for something they didn’t do… He also gave them incorrect information!” said Bakshi.

The call for justice and fighting Bollywood bullies was a major source of motivation for the group’s members. Along with the CBI investigation into the death, there has also been a petition to add the actor’s wax statue to Madame Tussauds museums.

Another Facebook group called NRIs for Sushant Singh Rajput, also raised awareness for the cause of justice by putting @NRIsForSSR sticker on the back of their cars, in a way that does not hinder the rear view.

There is also a petition going around for requesting Dubai’s Emaar Properties to display a tribute to Sushant Singh Rajput on the Burj Khalifa billboard.

“This should definitely happen. In such a short period of time, Sushant had his name in the industry,” Bakshi said. “Unfortunately, he was sidelined because the big names in Bollywood are insecure. Flop actors keep getting opportunities with big banners but Sushant couldn’t find opportunities. The bias is evident.”

Similar initiatives to put up billboards were seen in the US and UK. However, the group in Melbourne had not been in contact with similar justice groups. Since the success of the Melbourne billboards, they received calls from Sydney about the potential of re-creating the same success if CBI involvement was not confirmed.

The billboards received a mixed response, with some praising the move for highlighting the issue in Australia while others felt the money could’ve been used elsewhere. To that, the group’s admin Divya remains unfazed.

“We don’t have time for haters. No two people think alike and everyone is entitled to their opinion. God forbid anything ever happened to their loved ones, wouldn’t these same critics appreciate the community coming together to support their cause?” she said to Indian Link.

READ ALSO: When Sushant Singh Rajput came to Australia

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Rhea Nath
Rhea Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer, editor, and content creator studying at the University of Sydney.

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