Arrested youths Deepak Saini( R) and Lovepreet (L) during their court appearance in Jalandhar on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
The Punjab police have issued a notice to Facebook (FB), asking the social networking site to upgrade its content management policy, after an orphan girl committed suicide over abusive comments posted by two college seniors, including her ex-boyfriend, on her FB wall.
Raksha Sharma (20), a first-year student of computer science and engineering at Mehar Chand Polytechnic College here, hanged herself from a ceiling fan in her hostel room on Tuesday night. In her suicide note, she alleged that Lovepreet Singh (20) and Deepak Saini (20) who completed three-year diploma in electronics and communication engineering this year used to harass her and post obnoxious comments on FB to defame her publicly. Incidentally, Raksha's Facebook page has been "inaccessible" since Thursday morning.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Gaurav Yadav, police commissioner, said, "We have informed the Facebook authorities about the details of this suicide case. Though we are not interested in web policing, it's clear that Facebook needs to strengthening its policy to check the social impact of such content," Yadav said, adding that there should be a process to filter objectionable material to avoid such incidents. "We will scientifically complete the investigation and produce the challan at the earliest," he added.
The police said Raksha had an affair with Lovepreet, which lasted about five months till earlier this year. "Both were using Facebook to interact. Lovepreet supported her financially on three occasions by paying a total of Rs. 20,000.
After the breakup, he started pressing Raksha to pay back his money. He even contacted her shelter home in Jammu to make the demand," the police said, adding that Lovepreet started sending her abusive and lewd messages on Facebook and the mobile phone, which eventually forced her to commit suicide.
"Deepak, who was said to be treating Raksha like a sister ever since she came into his contact through Lovepreet, also started sending her such messages after the breakup. Lovepreet led a 'campaign' on the campus to defame her," the police said.
Earlier, the police produced both accused in a local court, which remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days since the police did not seek their police remand for custodial interrogation. The police have seized Lovepreet's laptop and mobile phone from his residence, while Deepak's mobile phone was also recovered.
"We are examining call details of the victim and the accused. Besides, we are downloading SMSes and 'wall' posts from their Facebook accounts," said Balkar Singh, assistant commissioner of police.
Meanwhile, Raksha's family members cremated her at their native place in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday afternoon. Raksha is survived by four sisters and two brothers. She and two of her two sisters were staying at the Jammu branch of the SOS Children's Villages-India since 1997, when her parents were gunned down by terrorists.
Lovepreet, son of a laboratory attendant of Dr BR Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jalandhar, had allegedly manhandled a girl student during a function on the NIT campus six months ago. Subsequently, it led to a full-fledged clash between two groups. The NIT authorities later ordered his father to vacate the campus accommodation.
Lovepreet, however, said Raksha was forcing him to marry her. "I was not keen on marriage since she was involved with other guys also. She also attempted suicide at the Jammu shelter home by consuming phenol," he alleged.
'Please do punish them'
In her suicide note, Raksha alleged that Lovepreet was responsible for making her take the extreme step. "He posted obnoxious comments on my Facebook wall and had been issuing threats for the past week. He was also hurling abuses at me. He used to harass me and had also circulated my mobile phone number among several boys. He called up my shelter home and lied to the authorities that I borrowed Rs. 20,000 from him. Deepak Saini, too, is involved. They made it difficult for me to enter the college. I am sorry. Please inne sazaa de dena (do punish them)," she wrote.