Harassed over viral video, scrap collector ends life in Rajasthan


PTI, Jun 25, 2024, 8:21 PM IST

Jodhpur: In a heartbreaking incident, a 63-year-old scrap collector committed suicide in front of a crowd here that was mocking him over a video clip that went viral on social media.

The video of victim Pratap Ram was shot by vlogger Shivam Lakhara. Following Ram’s death, Lakhara claimed that he was being trolled online and threatened to end his life.

In the video shot in the Lohawat area of Jodhpur a few months ago, Lakhara, accompanied by a female Japanese vlogger, is seen offering help to Ram who is pulling a cart loaded with scrap material in the scorching heat.

As the two approach Ram, he casually asks them, “Bhangar leno hai?” (Do you want to buy scrap).

Lakhara uploaded the video on social media and titled it — “Bhangar leno hai?” Soon, it went viral and the local youths began harassing Ram by repeatedly asking him “bhangar leno hai?” while recording the act on their phones.

On Sunday evening, he faced a similar situation when a group of youths surrounded him and asked the same question.

Fed up, Ram replied “Enjoy now” and climbed a tree with a rope in his hand. Shockingly, the youths kept on recording and no one tried to stop him. It was only when Ram hanged himself from the tree that the crowd fled the spot.

On the complaint of Ram’s son, Lohawat police have filed a case against unidentified people, booking them for abetment for suicide.

Inspector General of Police Vikas Kumar said strict action will be taken and a precedent will be set so that such an incident does not occur again.

“We have interrogated some suspects. It will take some more time (to punish the guilty) as we have to consider several digital evidence,” he said.

In a video uploaded on social media, Lakhara said he was being blamed for Ram’s death and facing harassment.

“Baba (Ram) has died and now more will die after him,” he said, threatening to end his life.

Lakhara said he made this video intending to help Ram.

“But people began harassing him. I must pay for this,” Lakhara said in the video.

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