An Indian expatriate was subjected to indescribable agony and the shock of his life on account of a prank Instagram post by some miscreants on Sunday.
Zahur Ahmed Sheriff, a business consultant, had sent his wife and children to India for vacation and the admission of his children for higher studies. On Sunday, his wife and children were flying from Kashmir to Bengaluru for the admission process.
As Sheriff was getting ready for a meeting in the morning, a friend of his son called from India and enquired about his son Uzair and daughter Shaima.
“He sounded very nervous and I asked him for the reason of his nervousness. The boy replied that he had come across a post on social media suggesting that both Uzair and Shaima had met with an accident in India and both of them had died on the spot. The post also has the picture of a car that was completely damaged in the accident,” recalled Sheriff.
Once this call was over, Sheriff started getting calls from other friends of his children as well as many others. They started offering him condolences on the tragic death of his children. They all said they had come across the Instagram post, or heard it from others.
Panic-stricken and terrified, Sheriff tried calling his wife in India. “Unfortunately the calls could not be connected as my wife was airborne on her way from Kashmir to Bengaluru. This made me all the more frantic and I tried calling my father-in-law in Kashmir but found that his number was out of network coverage,” he narrated the ordeal.
Meanwhile, more calls from his friends and relatives in Qatar started flowing in and Sheriff became highly stressed and did not know what to do. “Many people called me to offer their condolences on the tragic incident and such messages were placed all over the social media accounts of my children and family members,” he said.
Finally around 3.30pm Doha time, as his wife reached Bengaluru airport, he was able to get in touch with her and came to know that both his children were safe and with her. “That was a great relief for me and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Their mobile phones also were filled with missed calls and condolence messages. The children are still deeply upset and hurt and cannot believe even now that somebody had played such a prank with their lives,” noted Sheriff.
Once, he came back to his normal self, he immediately rushed to Capital Police and lodged a complaint and he was asked to report the matter to the Cyber Department. He has also filed a complaint with the cyber cell and plans to file another complaint with the cyber cell in India.
“My children’s friends told me that this message came from an account under the name of a girl. When they tried to reply to the message they were all blocked by the account holder. My children are well behaving and well loved by their friends and others. I have a strong feeling that some one who know my children, have played this prank on them. But such pranks are too much to bear and should not happen to anyone,” he added.