CHANDIGARH: On October 18, a dejected 17-year-old boy from Patti in Punjab posted a note contemplating suicide on Facebook after his proposal to a girl was rejected. The cyber crime cell tracked the message and alerted the Taran Tarn Police, who, in turn, reached out to the teen’s parents who had no idea about their son’s frame of mind.
At a hi-tech room in Mohali, sleuths of the Cyber Crime tasked with monitoring e-crime and anti-social elements are also turning out to be life-savers. Help is also sought from Facebook for details. Timely alerts and action on inputs from the local police are helping save lives. Sources said the cyber crime unit keeps monitoring Facebook accounts of the people for anti-social activities. Punjab’s proximity to India-Pakistan border and drug menace keep this unit on its toes.
On an average, about 200 accounts are monitored daily on a random basis. In course of this surveillance, the men in uniform also keep a tab on the people showing signs of depression. “We check Facebook posts with some key words such as ‘fed up with life’, ‘want to end my life’, and ‘last day of my life’. We contact Facebook officials to get IP addresses, trace the users and immediately contact the local police who alert the families of the impending danger. Facebook officials also alert us about such vulnerable individuals and help us with details,’’ said a cyber crime cell officer.
DIG, Cyber Crime Unit, HS Mann said Facebook has developed a software which goes through profiles of its users and identifies individuals with signs of taking the extreme step of ending lives. “They inform us and we go on to trace such individuals and alert the local police.’’ “Facebook posts where users contemplate suicide are monitored as such individuals are at risk of death or serious physical injuries,’’ he added.
CASES WHERE COPS TURNED SAVIOURS
The cyber cell tracked a man in his mid-thirties on October 22, after he posted a message venting his frustration that he had neither been a good son nor was a good husband. He confessed that he wanted to die. The Punjab Police found out that the man had posted the message from his mobile while he was on the Ambala-Zirakpur highway. Immediately, the Haryana Police was contacted and it was found that the man had gone ‘missing’. The update helped the Haryana Police to track the man down.
On September 4, a girl living in Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district posted a message about ending her life. The local police was alerted and a police team rushed to the girl’s house. It was found that the girl was upset as her childhood friend had stopped talking as they had some misunderstanding.
A 16-year-old boy from Haridwar on August 28 uploaded a post stating his disappointment of a one-sided affair. “It is my last day of life.’’ Facebook officials informed the Punjab Police, who alerted their counterparts in neighbouring Uttarakhand.