Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, November 29, 2023: In a heartbreaking incident, 16-year-old Priyanshu Yadav, known as “Pranshu,” was discovered dead in his room last Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
Pranshu, a 10th-grade student and a self-taught queer makeup artist, faced relentless cyberbullying. Aspiring to become a social media influencer, Pranshu lived with his single mother in the Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh.
With nearly 22,000 followers on Instagram, Pranshu shared makeup and beauty content on his account. While authorities are uncertain about the motive behind his extreme step, media reports suggest that Pranshu fell victim to online harassment, predominantly of a homophobic nature. The tragedy unfolded as derogatory Pranshu and homophobic slurs flooded the comment section of his videos, where he expressed himself by dressing in saris and wearing makeup.
His social media presence showcased his love and talent as a makeup artist, featuring him in various saris and dresses. His last Instagram post, dated November 12, 2023, depicted him in a red sari and traditional jewellery, triggering a wave of abuse from online trolls.
Pranshu has lived with his single mother since his parents’ separation three years ago. He attended Ujjain Public School. His parents, Rajendra Yadav and Preeti, had parted ways, leaving Pranshu in his mother's care.
Preeti Yadav, Pranshu’s mother and a medical representative based in Ujjain, expressed her frustration in a report by The Quint: “Why is no attention being paid to the fact that a 16-year-old faced hateful comments online for doing something they not only loved but were also good at? This negativity needs to be checked and curtailed.”
Police have confiscated Pranshu's smartphone to investigate the online harassment he faced on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. A six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to probe what might have driven the teenager to take such an extreme step.
As authorities investigate the circumstances, several members and activists of the queer community have taken to social media to express their grief over Pranshu’s death by suicide. The LGBTQIA+ community is rallying on social media to condemn the cyberbullies responsible and to call for justice.
Edited by: Sri Soudamini Konka
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