Published on January 14th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Afreed Islam Conclusion: The ReVoBook Computer System Inventor is a Liar, Fraud, Harasser
If you have been living in East and North East India, chances are that you have heard of Afreed Islam back in February 2014, the ‘prodigy’ from Guwahati, who built the ReVoBook portable computer and ReVo IX OS that runs on the said computer. He also claims to have invented “a new kind of microchip that has no moving parts and can be used to replace a typical hard disk drive as the primary storage unit” and a “hybrid OS” which will be a part of his new computer system. This news has been covered in the Times of India, The Telegraph (India), The Hindu and a variety of other smaller newspapers and online magazines like The Digit, Open Source for You and EFY. As of right now, only the Times of India, The Telegraph, The Hindu and The Digit have live links remaining on the Internet, while the others have pulled this specific news article down. Interestingly groups that have nothing to do with tech have featured this news piece like the Mili Gazette, simply riding on the pride train of his faith. There is even a short video of the news feature from NOW News which I have provided below.
If you have gone through the news articles and the above video and are even a tiny bit familiar with computer architecture and Operating Systems, you will find a lot of inconsistencies in the narrative, which we have covered in our past article Unmasked: Afreed Islam, Prodigy behind ReVoBook and ReVo IX OS. The team at wowmoron have also covered the issue in a much greater detail in their post Truth Behind Magic Operating System Developed by Std. X Student. You can go through the respective article links to get a better understanding of the issue at hand.
At this point, you might be wondering why I am necro-bumping something from 5 years ago which is useless and has no value today. Well, I am doing this not only for the sake of the invention but also to inform how the public, Afreed and Afreed’s supporters and intellectuals in North-East handled the entire situation. As a computer architecture, operating systems and open-source enthusiast, I was rather disappointed with how the lack of common-sense, glorification of regional pride and discounting of critical thinking took centre-stage.
In this article today, I am going to take you on a flashback on what happened with me after the ReVoBook announcement and the publishing of our article casting doubts on the invention. So brace yourselves up: it is going to be long disappointing tale of how we failed as a society.
The Afreed Saga
Press Release Event and Our Published Article
Afreed Islam’s ReVoBook press release happened in early February 2014. News outlets published their news item on 18 February 2014, and in a few hours the city went into celebrating Afreed’s ‘achievement’. Everyone was talking about him, calling him their idol and wallowing in pride that someone from their city created something big. Back then, I was pursuing my Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering at Assam Engineering College. Almost everyone in my college was also talking about him. At that time, I was attending classes, attending industrial training sessions, contributing to open-source, doing consultancy work and putting in all my efforts to growing Techno FAQ. I was busy close to 20 out of 24 hours of the day and my hands were full. So at the start, I didn’t pay any attention to the development.
Then one day, it all changed for me. I got an anonymous email tip in Techno FAQ’s mailing list where the sender explained in significant detail the doubts he had over the Afreed’s “invention” and loopholes in the narrative. I read the email top to bottom with full attention. At the end of the email, there was a link to wowmoron’s article, which I clicked on and read. Then, I went and checked the original news articles, and then it finally hit me what was happening. I also started having doubts over Afreed’s storage “invention” as it sounded vaguely like an SSD, while the ReVoBook sounded like a cheap netbook and his “hybrid OS” sounded rubbish. Going through wowmoron’s post once again, I understood that wowmoron already talked to Afreed regarding the invention, and he was unable to clearly explain his invention and its working principles and was copy-pasting texts picked up from the Internet as his answers. Clearly something was amiss. Soon after I saw who wrote the post: Saikat Basak. I knew him as a fellow open-source enthusiast. Then I checked the blog’s author pages and discovered that I knew people in the team behind wowmoron. I went ahead and discussed about the incident with them. The team echoed one of my lurking doubts: Afreed was trying to pass something built with a Unix-like kernel and KDE Plasma 4 desktop as his own invention. Even the feature image from news websites confirms that his laptop was running Plasma desktop.
So, I took the proverbial leap of faith, and published the article on 21 February 2014, expressing my doubts on the “invention” on the Techno FAQ blog.
Initial Reactions to the PR Event and Our Published Article…
A day after the article went live and was shared on social networks, the first comment I received was pretty negative. The commenter called me a pessimist and loser and that I was “trying to snatch someone else’s candy with self publicity”. The commenter also went ahead with giving me the “be a man” challenge to swallow my pride and publish an updated article after I used his invention.
Knowing that most Internet commenters hardly read the content and project their own perceptions/beliefs on to others in the comment section, I simply replied to his comment requesting him to provide valid points to counter what I said. There was no response after that.
I went to college that day, and everyone who knew me was like “Oh lord! You roasted the kid to the power infinity.” “I am impressed how you burnt him without even seeing what he made.” At that point I tried to convey that all I was trying to do is express doubt in his “invention”, but no one would buy it. Everyone believed that a tech feud had started at that point.
In the meanwhile, wowmoron’s post got a lot of views and comments. Some comments praised wowmoron for their critical thinking and bringing the truth about the media exaggeration and flaws in the “invention” to the public. Others criticized them for making speculative comments without trying out his system. Either way, wowmoron was getting a lot of traffic and publicity.
At Techno FAQ, things were quieter on the site. Instead I got private messages on my personal Facebook account that were minor variations of “nice roast”.
While all this was going on, more news outlets kept pushing the press release news to social media. Some netizens posted concerns as to how the quality of journalism was decreasing. Others praised Afreed for his “innovation”.
Right after the PR event, Afreed Islam had already built a Facebook page for himself to promote the ReVoBook. On his page, on that day, 22 February 2014, he posted that he would clarify the doubts raised by wowmoron and Techno FAQ. And his product launch would follow up later in the year and would silence his detractors. Seeing this, I was overjoyed as I would be getting all the answers to my questions without getting into major controversy. Or so I thought. Fate laid a different path for me.
…That Escalated Quickly
22 February 2014 had not ended yet. I had returned from college after classes and went outside to shop for supplies in the late afternoon. Soon I got an email from our site monitoring tool that our WordPress backend was timing out. I paused shopping and used my smartphone to SSH to our then shared webhost to inspect the issue. Turns out that several people were trying to bruteforce the WordPress login page to break-in to the backend. The number of requests were so high that the page started to time out to due lack of resources. I immediately locked public access to the backend, and emailed our web host to block all the offending IP addresses. Then I resumed shopping. 2 hours later, I was taking a cab to my home. And then the monitoring tool reported anomalies in load times of the Techno FAQ. I inspected the issue again with my smartphone, and found that there was a Layer-7 DDoS being targeted to Techno FAQ. I emailed my web host again to look into the issue, to which they promptly took action. Back then, I wasn’t aware of CloudFlare or Incapsula, so our web host’s DDoS filtering was the last line of hope for the site staying up. It is most likely Afreed’s friends and/or supporters were responsible for this.
I reached home and fired up my laptop to start contributing to SuperX OS, a Debian-family Linux distribution using KDE Plasma desktop, also based in Guwahati, Assam. Then I noticed something shockingly rude. People claiming to be Afreed Islam’s friends were running wild and harassing members in the SuperX User Community Facebook group. They started by asking for help regarding usage of a Micromax 3G USB modem on SuperX. The modem had extremely poor compatibility with Linux, so the community members replied with solutions that involved a lot of hacky settings and workarounds that would be required irrespective of the Linux distribution. Afreed’s friends took it as an opportunity to take cheap potshots at SuperX calling it extremely user-unfriendly and a scam (for not performing as advertised). They further started personal attacks and spewed profane language on community members. Finally, they started flooding the group with hate posts. The SuperX community administrators had to spend a lot of time and manpower to delete the posts and clean the mess. While this was going on, they had taken screenshots of the USB modem discussion and started a new website techtox.co.nr where they tried to portray SuperX as a ripoff and scam with it. The new website was shared on Afreed’s Facebook page, several tech groups and forums, as comments on news websites, SuperX’s own forum, Techno FAQ’s post and wowmoron’s post. I was baffled as to why they were taking their anger out on something unrelated as SuperX. Except for the fact that few of wowmoron’s team members and me were SuperX contributors, SuperX had nothing to do with the incident. I was completely clueless.
From what I can remember, at least two individuals, namely Joyashish Das and Manash Bhuyan, were involved in the 22 February attacks on Techno FAQ bruteforcing and SuperX spam attacks. The attackers left their names and claimed to be friends of Afreed Islam.
Things did not end there though.
Threats, More Threats, Violent Threats and Death Threats
The remaining of the week after 22nd February 2014 and the following week was a very stressful time for me. I had lots of people message me on Facebook and SMS threatening to me take down my article or be faced with dire consequences. Some claimed to be Afreed’s family, some claimed to be his friends. The problem was that after they had sent a message, they would block me, so I would not be able to get their identity. At first I decided to ignore and wait for Afreed’s statement so that I do not have to deal with this. But he never made any.
The following week, I started getting calls from unknown numbers threatening me again with dire consequences. By the middle of the week, the threats escalated from dire consequences to violent consequences, like getting lathicharged (getting beaten with a cane), stoning and gang violence. By the weekend, the threats escalated to shooting, arson and murder. I was too busy to account all of this and deal with it, but I was also scared. I simply shuttled between college, industrial training and home and didn’t go anywhere else worrying about personal safety. I left my shopping to be done by parents. Afreed did not make a statement that week either.
The frequency of calls increased week-after-week till mid-March. I simply stopped accepting calls from unknown numbers and always made sure to tag a friend or a parent along everywhere I went. When I look back at those times, I feel bad about my naivety and constant fear at that time. I was just a young adult, learning about the adult world and was not ready for all this. I was also very uneducated about legal issues. If someone would pull the same stunt on me today, I would file a criminal offense case against that person under Section 506 of Indian Penal Code.
Techno FAQ vs. Assamese Pride
It was the end of March, and Afreed’s statement was nowhere to be found. Calls to threaten or victimize me were still coming in, but I wasn’t answering them.
At the start of April, suddenly the nature of threats changed. Now, emails started coming to Techno FAQ’s primary mailbox claiming to be from various student associations in Gauhati University, Gauhati Commerce College and erstwhile Cotton College State University. In their emails, they stated that Techno FAQ and wowmoron were a disgrace to the Assamese culture and society as the said sites were trying to defame an ‘Assamese innovator’ while being run by Assamese people themselves. Contents on some emails were extremely vile and chauvinistic, going to the point of proposing that the team members of Techno FAQ should be deported to Bangladesh. Some other emails proposed burning Techno FAQ members at the stake and/or being hacked to death. Apart from that, all the emails kept reiterating that ‘Assamese innovators’ like Afreed Islam need to be protected and must be provided special benefits, both monetarily and legally and the Government should also handle defamation and bad press for innovators with an iron fist. This went on for two weeks.
In the third week of April, an interesting event happened. Several people claiming to be Gauhati University students and professors, wrote an email to the then Prime Minister of India requesting him to block access to TechnoFAQ.org in India as it hurt Assamese and Indian sentiments because I portrayed an “innovator” in bad light. The email was CCed to Techno FAQ. Two similar emails followed, claiming to be from Cotton College State University. Later that week, a Change.org petition was started by some Guwahati citypeople to collect signatures for a nationwide block/ban on Techno FAQ and wowmoron websites. Three similar petitions followed soon after.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Something merely simple as expressing doubt gets interpreted as a feud. Then regional pride replaces common sense and critical thinking. Then usually sane people who praise the Indian democracy for being effective, people-centric and a proponent of the free-market start acting exactly the opposite, asking for full government dictatorship and protectionism. Pride can be blinding.
I wish I had an archive of the emails to show you. We have switched mail hosting about 4 times in the history of Techno FAQ, and I am not sure if I managed to preserve all the emails. I don’t have the emails at hand right now, but if I find them, I will update this article so that the whole world can see and judge for themselves. But I have something representative of how the situation was like at that point of time. Someone anonymously tipped me on my personal email account that Afreed was invited to participate in The Create the Future Design Contest and the organizer of the event who claimed to “see the transition from Hollerith machines to today’s microchip based wonder gadgets” could not/assumed not to see the fallacies in the narrative and gave Afreed the benefit of doubt. He expressed hope that Afreed would be able to refute claims by Techno FAQ and wowmoron. The complete email is given below.
By now, I was convinced that Afreed will never release a statement and will never launch his product. If he had genuinely invented something, he would have cleared my doubts by now, disproved my claims and called out wowmoron, instead of orchestrating/instigating targeted personal attacks on me with the support of his family and friends. I stopped hoping for resolution and prepared for the worst.
In late April and the over the month of May, I had 9 full-grown men randomly come to me on the streets of Guwahati and angrily scowl “You’ve brought shame to Assam. Don’t you have a dint of remorse in what you did?” and would proceed to start a fight. I would flee to save myself. I was dead scared the entire time.
A Sudden Lull
Finally June came and the summer vacations of 2014 started. In the first week, all of a sudden everything became silent. The threat calls stopped. The Change.org petitions were removed. No one was following me. Everything returned to normalcy in a snap. People were not talking about it anymore. Incredibly vocal people on the Internet suddenly deactivated their Facebook and email accounts.
I was surprised as I was not expecting this at the least. I had no idea how or why this happened.
There was no news of Afreed Islam for close to a year.
Afreed Raises Money…
…or so I heard. At the start 2015, there were rumors going around that Afreed was raising money for his invention by going to various investor meets. At first, I dismissed them as mere speculation. But over the course of June to August 2015, I started getting Facebook messages and emails from people who claimed they backed Afreed Islam’s “invention”. The investors requested me to take down the article published on Techno FAQ because it was hurting their interests. However, I refused to comply and replied back saying that I would edit my post only if I get an official statement or word from Afreed regarding the invention.
Investments Get Blackholed
There was again a long gap till mid 2015 news about Afreed surfaced again. This time I started getting emails from investors saying that Afreed’s invention was not even worth anything. When they had asked for refund of the investment amount, Afreed didn’t return the money and kept replying back with a variety of excuses to delay the repayment. The investors asked me to highlight this case on Techno FAQ. By that time, I already had enough of Afreed’s fiasco and decided to ignore the request.
One fine evening, my Moroccan friend, Othmane, revealed to me that he had also backed Afreed with US$80 as a retail/small investor when Afreed begged him for support regarding his “invention”.
When he asked for return of his money, Afreed initially tried to delay payment with various excuses saying that he would return it tomorrow, the day after, etc. After a lot of coaxing, he returned US$35 back to Othmane.
When being coaxed further for the remaining amount, Afreed went into hiding and got one of his friends to answer for him.
Needless to say, he did not get the remaining amount back.
A Longer Silence
Now, after the case of investments being pocketed, we never heard of Afreed again. No one talked about him. People said they could not find him on social media and he had blocked all known contacts.
The story is supposed to end here. But no.
The Cat is Out of the Bag
Fast forward to now. It is the first month of 2019. I am pursing my Ph.D. at IIT Guwahati. One batchmate informed me that the Intellectual Property Services of India website got a recent revamp with better transparency and I should go check it out. I did not have a registration or application number to test out the new interface. Then I remembered that wowmoron’s post on Afreed’s “invention” has an application number. So, I go on the website and enter 473/KOL/2013. What I saw was really shocking.
First of all, the Application Status is Deemed to be Withdrawn, which in laymen terms could mean any one of the three issues:
- Afreed requested to withdraw the patent application.
- Afreed didn’t pay the fees for the application.
- Afreed didn’t continue with the filing process and abandoned it midway.
Then I clicked on ‘View Documents’ and I given a list of files to download. As this is a critical evidence, I quickly downloaded all the files and made a mirror of them.
You can go through the documents yourself by clicking this link: http://pc.cd/Y7g
First I started reading the latest revision of specifications (dated 27 November 2013) with file name 27-11-2013_SPECIFICATION.pdf. The first page is a form. What follows after that is noteworthy.
The title “A system to provide two different kernel modules and dependencies in an independent platform” does not really mean anything. Afreed does not even understand what a kernel, a kernel module, a dependency and a platform is. It is the first indicator of the hogwash that is going to follow from now on. The background of the invention starts with “The sophisticated technology of running a device that is programmed to carry out arithmetic operations is through hard disk drives.” Seriously? Is this the level of “innovation”? Hard drives are storage devices and not compute devices. Afreed is not even a proper computer science expert. An “innovator” is a far cry. The rest of the background is filled with generic text plagiarized from various Internet sources.
The Summary of the Invention part is filled even more meaningless text but vaguely conveys his proposing something like a flash storage or SSD. At this point I am not exactly sure if he is proposing a hardware or a software “invention”. The Advantages of the Proposed Invention is a mix of text on the Internet relating about the advantages of using a flash storage and some magic pixie dust that enables you to run kernel processes (is it a micro-kernel?).
Going to the Detailed Description of the Invention, I see that it is a bunch of text copy-pasted from the Internet plus some legal jargon that serves as a disclaimer. By now it should be clear to you why Afreed had no serious comeback when we raised doubts about his invention in our blog post.
Then comes his list of tall claims.
Now, comes the juicy parts. There is a block diagram of his proposed microchip which is a plagiarized schematic diagram of a typical flash-based SSD. I fail to understand how this is an original invention.
This is followed by a diagram of the proposed system which has a meaningless flowchart but manages to vaguely represent a typical Intel-based PC.
Then comes a flowchart I really do not understand. It talks about the execution of a process depending on whether the program is built for Windows or Linux. I don’t get how a process can start and ask for dependencies. A program either runs to become a process or does not start depending on the environment it is provided. There is no intermediate/indeterminate state between a program and a starting process. It just executes. Clearly, Afreed has zero knowledge of the OS process model. And why on earth is Windows API a kernel module. Isn’t a translation layer required for performing Win32 API calls on Linux and the translation happens in userspace? How can you make a Linux kernel act like the NT kernel with a module without violating system integrity? I have some serious questions.
The rest of the document is meaningless jargon. For convenience, here is a direct link to the document: http://pc.cd/t7NitalK
Most of the remaining documents are incomplete drafts of 27-11-2013_SPECIFICATION.pdf, or parts of it, or block diagrams provided separately. So these are redundant. A few of the remaining are correspondence letters and legal forms.
Then I came across a very interesting document 29-04-2013_DESCRIPTION (PROVISONAL).pdf. This document seems like the specification of the system that was demonstrated during the press release. The first few pages contain disadvantages of Windows based systems plus some plagiarized text about various programming languages sourced from the Internet.
As we head to the next pages of this document, you will realize how bad the situation is. Afreed has literally filed the KDE Plasma 4 Desktop for a patent.
There a lot of infringing material in the entire document as he never mentions that KDE Plasma 4 is a part of his computer system. It is as if he built the system on his own. Some interesting infringing material are as follows.
Notice how he conveniently whitened out every mention of KDE/KDE software in the statements listed below.
Now notice how he calls the KDE taskbar as the ‘Revobar’ and claims Amarok belongs to ReVo iX, also while stripping KDE of any credit.
I also came across a nice mention of YaST which clearly means that his Operating System is not SysV or a BSD Unix, but is a variant of OpenSUSE, which is a GNU/Linux distribution.
The entire document is a near-verbatim copy of KDE and OpenSUSE documentation. Some text from Linux Mint KDE user guide also seems to be present. And Afreed submitted it to the patent office without a proper review. There are more instances of infringement, which is too cumbersome to list in this article. So I leave it as an exercise to the reader to count the total number of infringing paragraphs. The direct link to the document is here: http://pc.cd/StwrtalK
After going through all the documents, the doubts I had expressed in our past article regarding his “invention” are now answered:
- Q: Did Afreed make an original Unix-like OS? A: No. He merely remastered OpenSUSE. He did not even make his own GNU/Linux distribution.
- Q: Did Afreed make an original storage device/microchip? A: No. He just submitted the schematic of a flash-based SSD in his patent application.
- Q: Did Afreed design the UI and UX of the OS? A: No. He merely integrated unmodified KDE Plasma 4 desktop and passed it off as his own in the patent application.
- Q: Did Afreed make a kernel module to run Windows apps? A: No, since he is using OpenSUSE, he is probably using Wine and implying that he made it.
- Q: Did Afreed make an original computer design? A: No, he is merely submitted an Intel-based PC design in his patent application.
Finally, I must say that Afreed made a wise decision not to pursue a patent for this submission. If he went ahead, he would have a head-on collision with a class-action lawsuit.
The tale of Afreed Islam and his “invention” ends here. Now that I am done explaining what happened to me, let us now analyze how and why it happened this way, and how serious the magnitude of this sequence of events is.
Joining the Dots
After the sequence of events that happened, we are convinced that Afreed is
- a liar: He made false claims and statements about his invention and convinced the public that he is an “innovator”.
- a fraud: He submitted someone else’s work as his own in his patent application, claimed credit for something he didn’t make and stole money from his (potential) investors.
- a harasser: He and/or his friends/family/supporters made a brute-force attack on Techno FAQ’s publishing backend, spammed SuperX user community and made me the victim of a targeted personal attack involving threats of violence, death and societal exclusion just because he was unable to clear doubts raised by our past article and refute the claims we made.
Why did Afreed/Afreed’s supporters personally target me? My theory/understanding is that he/his supporters knew very well about the nature of the “invention” and were sure that Afreed would not be able to release a statement to counter the doubts and questions put forward in the past article. So, they took it upon themselves to silence me with alternate means that were illegal and borderline criminal, so that I succumb to the threats and take down the article.
But why SuperX, an unrelated project, became a victim of a spam attack by Afreed’s supporters? After the truth comes to light, the reasons become very clear. Afreed’s ReVo iX OS is a GNU/Linux distribution (rather a remaster of OpenSUSE) using KDE Plasma desktop and SuperX is also a GNU/Linux distribution (in the Debian family) using KDE Plasma desktop based in the same city as Afreed is in. My theory is that since SuperX is an older and an established operating system with an already strong user base, Afreed’s supporters found it to be a formidable threat. If Afreed had gone ahead with filing the patent, SuperX developers would have protested and would garner the support of KDE, OpenSUSE and Mint with relative ease putting him into grave trouble. So after ReVo’s press release event, Afreed’s supporters tried to troll the SuperX user community and gather some angry/negative responses so that they could project SuperX user experience and community support as poor. They did it with the intent that if SuperX gathers bad press, they would be busy in damage control and would not notice Afreed’s “invention”, patent and “final product”.
There is another interesting side to the sequence of events. Will anyone really expect a then 16-year old school-going teenager going to such lengths? Even I don’t expect that. As a minor, you need an adult guardian to approve/support your actions, even if you are operating your own bank account. This fact alone changes the narrative. To file a patent, you need the signature of your guardian. To raise money, you need your guardian. And even if you need to lobby people, you need your guardian. I am wondering how his legal guardian, i.e., his father (according to the specification document) Nurul Islam, gives Afreed the go ahead to commit IP rights fraud and financial fraud. Also, how does his father condone Afreed misleading and misguiding the public? Also, how does his father just sit still and do nothing while people claiming to be Afreed’s friends and supporters go about harassing people who have raised serious doubts about the “invention”? Doesn’t he have a responsibility to take care of his child and not involve him in illegal and borderline criminal activities? This makes it easy to speculate that Afreed’s father is the one behind the events that took place, and that this entire stunt was willfully orchestrated as a team to gather publicity for Afreed and pocket some investment money under the facade of a “groundbreaking invention”.
Coming to people who supported Afreed’s stunt without thinking about it critically, the part of the blame is on them too. First of all, it goes to show the lows they can go to and how stupidity runs amok in society. Threatening with violence for raising doubts is one of them. Displaying a parochial attitude to someone who does not agree with you is another. Calling a person a disgrace to culture and society for questioning beliefs is yet another one. Finally, petitioning for a ban on Techno FAQ and wowmoron websites and calling for protectionist policies is the most regressive action so far. If you were a part of this bandwagon, then I would like you to evaluate the whole situation now and decide for yourself who/what a disgrace to the Assamese society is.
A lot of events and situations have happened by now, which we cannot undo. All we can do is take steps to prevent them from happening in the future. I dived into this mess as a young adult and ended up learning a lot of lessons I will remember for life. So, here are some lessons that I believe every journalist/whistle-blower will learn from.
- Always record every call, email/message exchange and website screenshots and retain them as they are critical pieces of evidence. I wish I took more care into preserving content that got eventually removed from the Internet. I wish I had preserved all email tips I had received over the lifetime of Techno FAQ.
- Try to know and understand the protections given to free speech according to your nation’s law and your nation’s penal code. That way you can be protected from getting harassed by an adversary. I wish I knew this when I was younger.
- Always keep a record of what you are going through. It will make it easier for you to write a report when publishing your story.
Investors did not get their money back after they realized that Afreed’s invention is not worth anything. So as an investor what can you take home from this incident?
- Never invest into anything if you do not understand the technology and working principle behind it. If you still want to invest, get it reviewed by a friend or an expert who has a good idea of the subject matter.
- Avoid investing into ventures that do not have clear cut goals or have confusing or ambiguous terminology. It is most likely to be a scam. Othmane wishes that he knew better at that time and not have fallen for this.
- Always use a trusted escrow/partner like PayPal when making high-risk payments, and avoid doing a Western Union or wire transfer. You are more likely to get your money back if defrauded if you do so.
There are also lessons to be learnt as a member of the common public.
- Always think critically about every event or interaction. Do not take things for granted.
- Always validate news/information to see if it is actually has any truth before believing in it.
- Be open to conflicting thoughts and ideas and not react violently to them. You would not like getting harassed for having different opinions, so why do the same to others?
- Never become deeply emotional about an entity simply because it happens to be from your region. Do not let emotions block your thought process.
- Do not blindly support anything even if it from your family or friends. Always think critically of the situation before you offer unconditional support. I bet no one wants to end up supporting a crime unconditionally.
And the most important lesson of all: never trust any product or venture that involves Afreed Islam or his father Nurul lslam or his supporters for your own safety. Also, avoid engagement with them as much as possible, otherwise you will end up getting harassed like I did, or lose money, like Othmane did.
If you have read all the way down till here, then I thank you for your patience, concern and support for hearing out my story. I hope that our society understands the impact of these incidents, and ensures that the Assamese, the North Eastern and the Indian society as a whole takes steps to prevent similar situations in the future, as they impact our credibility as a nation to the rest of the world. We Indians already have a bad reputation for scamming, plagiarizing, theft, maladvertising, violence, crimes… and the list goes on. Let us not worsen our image any further and instead improve it. And with this trust and hope on the Indian society, I would like to conclude my article.