An Indian woman who tried to promote peace between Hindus and Muslims has committed suicide after being subjected to harassment and cyber-bullying.
The 20-year-old woman told a friend on WhatsApp that she loved Muslims after facing scrutiny for befriending a Muslim man, BBC News reports.
Screenshots from her conversation were later shared on social media, leaving her open to abuse from people who opposed her views.
The woman took her own life on Saturday after five people from pro-Hindu groups showed up at her home to threaten her and warn her parents that “she was in love with a Muslim man,” according to K Annamalai, a senior police officer of the Chikkamagaluru district.
Although the police initially deemed the death a suicide, authorities are now exploring the role of social media amid their investigation. One of the people who allegedly went to her house has been arrested, and police are searching for the others.
The woman left a suicide note explaining the root of her turmoil.
"She has mentioned that there was a photo of her with a man from another religious community. People started commenting about it and cast aspersions on her character," Annamalai said.
Annamalai said authorities are prepared to arrest “whoever has criticized the woman, whether on Facebook or WhatsApp.”
"We believe it amounts to harassment due to which a young life has been lost. We are taking this case seriously because it wasn't her fault," he added.
Screenshots from her conversation with a so-called friend should have never been posted in the first place. Publicly blasting her unpopular perspective was the catalyst to the merciless harassment she suffered that took such a toll on her that she ended her life to escape it.
As this tragic case makes clear, cyber-bullying is just as harmful as attacking someone verbally or physically.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters