An Ireland-based Facebook staffer's timely alert to Delhi Police helped save the life of a 27-year-old man who showed "suicidal activity" on the social media platform.
The man, who had been posting videos on Facebook that reportedly showed him preparing to die by suicide, raised a red flag on the social media giant's network. Officials said that Facebook did not take the risk of directly contacting the man in question as it could drive him to expedite his suicide plans.
As the phone number used to create the Facebook account was registered in Delhi, a company official contacted Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Anyesh Roy. Just before 8 PM on Saturday, August 8, the Facebook staffer shared the details of the "suicidal activity" with Roy in his email, and police consequently traced the number to a woman resident of east Delhi.
After Roy reached out to Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Jasmeet Singh, a police team was immediately sent to the address. However, everything was found to be fine at the residence.
The woman to whom the phone number was traced told the police that the Facebook account was used by her husband. Two weeks ago, he had left for Mumbai after fighting with her.
She mentioned that he was working as a cook in a small hotel in Mumbai. Although the woman had her husband's phone number, she was unaware of his address.
Roy then got in touch with his counterpart in Mumbai, DCP (Cyber) Rashmi Karandikar, but the man's phone number was found 'unreachable'.
"Our biggest challenge was to trace him and our priority was to reach him quickly because we were told he had put out at least four videos of himself preparing to end his life by hanging. Until 12.30 am, we were struck," India Today quotes Karandikar as telling PTI.
Tracing down the man's mother, the Mumbai police asked her to video call him on WhatsApp, so that his location could be traced. However, the call got disconnected after a single ring.
"The man then contacted his mother through another number and that's how we traced his location. For an hour, one of my officers kept him engaged on a phone call and tried to convince him to not take any extreme step," the senior Mumbai police officer said.
A police team soon reached the man's residence and counselled him.
The man told police that he was under financial stress due to the lockdown, and had also had a fight with his wife. He decided to end his life as he did not know how to raise his recently born child amid the crisis.
due to the lockdown, and had also had a fight with his wife. He decided to end his life as he did not know how to raise his recently born child amid the crisis.