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Delhi and Mumbai police teamed up with Facebook to save man from suicide

A coordinated effort between an Ireland-based official of a social networking site, Facebook, and officers of Delhi and Mumbai police on Saturday helped saving the life of a man in Mumbai who was allegedly contemplating to take his own life.

The man, a resident of east Delhi, had gone to Mumbai after having an argument with his wife a fortnight ago. He started working as a cook in a hotel and living in a rented home in Bhayandar area, a suburb of Mumbai, said the officers in Delhi Police.

The incident started around 7.51pm on Saturday, when deputy commissioner of police (cyber crime unit, CyPAD) Anyesh Roy got a call from Ireland.

The operation lasted for around five hours and it involved as many as 50 officers from various units, including cyber crime cells of the Delhi and Mumbai Police. It all started at 7.51 pm on Saturday,

“The caller, a Facebook official, informed me that their systems have identified activity that could be deemed alarming on a Facebook account belonging to a Delhi resident. She sent the details of the account on my official email. The details were that a woman’s Facebook account and had a mobile number registered with it,” said DCP Roy.

Roy and his team immediately got cracking and traced the address attached to the phone number provided. The information was passed to DCP (east) Jasmeet Singh, who immediately sent the SHO of Madhu Vihar to the said address.

“Our team was relieved when they found that the owner of the phone number, a woman, was completely fine and oblivious of the hue and cry that her Facebook account had caused,” said DCP Singh.

But panic soon returned after the woman, on further enquiry, told the police that her Facebook account was being used by her husband, who had left for Mumbai a fortnight ago following an argument they had.

She gave the police his contact number but was unaware of his residential address and the hotel in Mumbai where he was working as a cook.

DCP Roy next got in touch with his counterpart in Mumbai — Bal Singh Rajput and Dr. Rashmi Karandikar, DCP (Cyber, Mumbai). A team was formed to trace the man’s location,

“Through technical assistance, our team members managed to get the man’s alternate phone number and his location was traced to Bhayandar area. I spoke to the man, who was in psychological distress and crying, and counselled him, even as a local police team rushed to the address. Around 1 am, the local police found the man safe,” said DCP Karandikar, when contacted on phone.

“I am happy that we could save the man’s life. We are thankful to Facebook, its official in Ireland who alerted us on time about the man’s suicidal tendency and to the Delhi Police official, who in turn informed us about it. The operation was tough because we had limited information. The end result was heartening,” she added.

A spokesperson for Facebook said, “We want Facebook to be a platform where everyone feels safe and empowered to communicate. Our Community Standards include policies on self-injury or suicide.”

“We have built these policies and enforcement approach with help from experts in suicide prevention and safety. When there’s risk of imminent harm, we work with emergency responders who can help. We also provide people who have expressed suicidal thoughts, or are worried for friends with such tendencies, with support options and resources.”

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