A 21-year-old Muslim man, Mohammed Amir, was arrested for extorting money from a girl by threatening to make her nude video viral on social media, police said on 18 May. The suspect has been arrested from Nehtaur village of Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh after the 13-year-old girl’s father complained at the Alipur police station in Delhi.
The police said that the girl’s father, who is a resident of Delhi, complained to the police that his daughter had accepted a friend request from an unknown person on Instagram. Following this, the father complained, she started chatting on social media with the suspect. In this duration, the suspect persuaded the girl to shoot herself in the nude and send him the video. Thereafter, the Muslim man started threatening and extorting money from her, threatening that he would put her nude video on social media.
The suspect, Amir, who was learning work at a barber’s shop in his native village, masqueraded as a man from a “good family background” and became friends with several girls on Instagram.
Police say the suspect demanded Rs 5,000 from the girl who then paid him Rs 2,000 via online transaction. The man kept threatening her to cough up the remaining amount.
The Muslim man managed to lure other girls to send their naked videos. After getting them, he started threatening and extorting money from those girls under the threat that he would upload the video on social media, police said. “The accused has been booked under Section 387 (extortion) of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act was also registered,” said Rajiv Ranjan Singh, DCP Outer North.
In February, 19-year-old Rahim Khan had been arrested from District Faridabad, Haryana, for stalking and blackmailing more than 50 girls and women across India on Instagram. Again in February, a schoolgirl (14) in Malappuram, Kerala was befriended through Instagram, hooked onto drugs and then gang-raped for months by a 7-member gang out of which 2 – Muhammed Aflah, Muhammed Rafeeque – were arrested.
Last year, another Instagram-driven racket was busted in Tamil Nadu where a gang led by engineering student Mohammed Mohideen, studying in Germany, was booked for blackmail and extorting money from women by threatening to expose their nude and morphed photographs on social media.
Such cases show the dangers inherent in children and teens using social media and phones/laptops without supervision. While celebrity culture and PR/media manipulation by big tech companies leads to peer pressure for children to go online and ‘express themselves’, as parents and a society we have to save our kids from the pitfalls of the digital age.
We have to set clear boundaries, monitor children’s online activity, and keep having a conversation with them on cyber-stalking, sexual harassment and other such crimes. Howsoever politically incorrect it may sound, we need to educate them about the realities of certain religious ideologies and how they condition their believers to dehumanize the kafir/heathen un-believer.