India: Orkut and the death of a teenager

The online Indian community is rattled by the recent death of 16-year old Adnan Patrawala of Mumbai. Apparently Adnan was lured by his friends on Orkut and was later found murdered. Is Orkut responsible for the murder of this young teenager? Orkut has millions of users in India. Police investigations reveal that the plot to kill Adnan was planned on Orkut and mainstream media is pointing fingers at Orkut and holding the social site somehow responsible for this unfortunate murder of Adnan.

Tapan Shah in his post Orkut and Media, points out that technology cannot be held responsible for the death of Adnan. He writes:

Other media, it seems fails to accept Internet as a legitimate media. I see this mentality time and again displayed by the mainstream media (television and newspapers -vernacular as well as english both) to either raise an issue or just blame the technology, whenever something wrong happens in the society?…For god sake, Internet is just a medium, it is no killer.”

Vivek of The Red Pencil writes:

This incident sure to cause a reverberation in the online community. As teachers and educators we have a responsibility to help protect our students again such act. The correct response would be a blanket ban on sites like Orkut and Facebook in schools, I can see this as a very likely knee-jerk response to this event.

A better approach would be continuing education about the possible consequences of undiscretionary online behaviour, much like the talk students get (or should get) today about sex education. Students have to be told, with examples like this unfortunate incident involving Adnan, that dangers exist and like one would not share personal information with a stranger or accept food from someone you didn’t know similar behaviours were inappropriate even when the other were a virtual entity at a computer screen miles from home.

Vani of A Whimsical Mind wonders about the unfortunate murder of Adnan and writes:

What is it that lures a youngster to meet strangers over the internet ? its possibly the fast life that they love to lead or probably the sudden adrenalin rush on meeting strangers ? Well whom do we blame ? is it the advanced technology we blame , easy money ? , the website for no regulations or is it the parents who have no clue what their children are upto.


  • Tapan,may be you are right in saying internet is a medium, but not a killer. But look how kids fall into this myth of meeting a stranger for making friendship or getting attraced to people presuming to be opposite sex and make friendship with them…
    One needs to be cautious in dealing with new social profiling tools. You never know where you end up?

  • Jayalakshmi


    In this case it appears that the teenager in
    question was used to having things for the asking Imagine a boy at 14 driving a MErc!. 16 year old spending ten thousand per day? As if Orkut or any other forum has all teenagers doing that? The boy was staying away from home and with whom? whether the family was aware of the comapny he was keeping? Who is accoutable here. The boy or the parents or the Orkut?.

    The temptations are always available on the streets. for each generation it was in its own form. The family and the school had the responsiblity to shape the boy. Who failed?

    I am thinking of all those kids who cant afford a meal or a shirt for their schools colleges! Poor India..

  • Is it absolutely imperative to play the blame game every time such a tragedy happens? Blame the parents, blame orkut, blame internet and blame the world!!! What next? We all go back to our lives, no lessons learnt!

    Stop blaming others people, and look into your own lives. There will be many such incidences waiting to happen. Do something to avoid them, put your own house in order before blaming others.

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