The Gujarat State Cyber Crime Unit (SCCU) has saved at least nine lives in recent times in what could have easily turned into suicide deaths.
In a posh Ahmedabad neighbourhood, a young man uploaded a video on Instagram, visibly consuming poison. Instagram flagged this and alerted SCCU with the video’s IP address. Local police rushed to the scene, finding the man unconscious.
With the aid of 108 emergency services, he was rushed to a hospital and his life was saved. Another young man, heartbroken over unrequited love, uploaded a video declaring his intent to end his life. Again SCCU came into action, alerted Sabarkantha police, which then located the young man and saved his life.
Over the past three months, the SCCU has received 36 alerts about individuals uploading videos, signalling suicidal attempts or intentions. While most were cries for attention, nine were genuine cries for help. The cyber crime unit acted swiftly and saved those lives. Most were found in unconscious state, when help reached them. A little delay could have been fatal for many of them.
As soon as the cyber team is alerted through AI-generated emergency triggers on social media platforms sensing possible suicide attempt, the cyber sleuths keep the person engaged on phone till the time the local police reach him/her. The cell is operational 24×7 for anytime access in case of emergency.
Who can forget Ayesha Bano? On April 30, 2021, she uploaded a heart-wrenching video before ending her life at Sabarmati River Front. She had come to Ahmedabad to find her estranged husband. Her last words, “Dua mein yaad rakhna,” left many in tears. Her husband was later arrested.
“If we had this partnership then, we could have saved Ayesha,” said an SSCU official on the partnership with 108.
The SCCU also operates a cyber helpline number, 1930, where people can seek help. “We locate and counsel them, offering another chance at life,” he said.