Social media influencer Irfan Khan – known as Iffy Khan online – was arrested on Sunday (July 25) after faking his own death on social media.
Posted on his Instagram, which has over 44k followers, the graphic edited video shows the 28-year-old influencer committing suicide on train tracks after receiving a rejection from a lover. Soon after it was posted, the video was shared on Twitter by user Binu Varghese, resulting in over 300k views.
Besides leading Khan’s relatives to worry he was dead, the now-deleted clip received heavy backlash for encouraging suicide.
In an interview with VICE, Khan clarified his intentions for the video. “I made it for entertainment purposes. It was a mistake,” he said. “My intention was never bad or to encourage people to (die by) suicide.”
He continued: “Actually, this was only part one of a video series I was making. In the second part, I would wake up from my dream and see my parents’ faces, and the message was meant to be motivational and tell people not to (die by) suicide.” Clearly, his idea missed the mark; instead, inciting possible dangerous consequences from viewers.
According to Khan’s frequent collaborator and friend, Shubham Joshi, the influencer “wanted to go viral, but didn’t have any other content to make”. “He wanted to make a video to raise awareness against suicide, but the one he made was wrong,” he added.
Now, Khan is facing multiple charges by the police under the Indian penal code – including endangering the safety of others (section 336), disobedience to order (section 188), for publishing a statement with intent to incite to commit an offence (section 505). Otherwise, the influencer was charged for trespassing and nuisance under the Indian Railways Act.
Khan posted an apology video online after deleting the clip, and will appear before a court today to receive sentencing.