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Two More Suspected Cases Of Blue Whale Challenge Deaths Emerge From Kerala

Exactly how much risk are Indian teenagers at?

16/08/2017 8:42 PM IST | Updated 16/08/2017 9:17 PM IST
Screenshot from YouTube

Even as the government directed websites like Facebook, Google and Yahoo to remove links relating to the Blue Whale Challenge game, reports suggest that two new cases of deaths have emerged from Kerala because of the game.

Sixteen-year-old Manoj C Manu from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram had hung himself on July 26. His mother has now told TV channels that he had told her about a game that made him do tasks and even harm himself.

NDTV quoted his mother as saying, ""He said in the last stage of the game, one should either commit suicide or murder someone. I got scared after hearing it and asked my son not to play the game."

The game started by 22-year-old Russian named Philipp Budeikin makes people take 50 challenges of which the last one is to take their own lives.

The tasks range from "carve with a razor 'f57' on your hand" or "wake up at 4.20 AM and watch psychedelic and scary videos that the curator sends" in the initial days to going to the "rail tracks at 4.20 AM", "not talking to anyone else", and finally "jumping off a high building to take your own life" on the 50th day.

In this teenager's case, the mother says there were red flags for several months.

She tells NDTV he would do weird things like watch horror movies all day, and had even jumped into a river even though he did not know how to swim. She said that Manoj had even asked her how she would feel if he died.

This comes close on the heels of the family of 22-year-old Sawant, from Kerala's Kannur, saying that he hung himself because of the Blue Whale Challenge game.

PTI reported Sawant's mother as saying that after Sawant had slashed his armed the parents had taken him for counselling many times thinking he was depressed.

They said that his behaviour continued to be abnormal. Sawant's mother said that he was addicted to computer games and would stay up all night to play these games and sleep the entire day.

The police are yet to confirm if both the cases are really because of the Blue Whale Challenge game.

There have been many suspected cases if Blue Whale Challenge deaths across the country in the last two weeks.

Fourteen-year-old Ankan De of West Bengals West Midnapore hung himself in his home on Saturday morning in what seems to be was a bid to complete the last challenge of this morbid and dangerous game.

Ankan had covered his head with the a plastic bag and had tied a nylon chord around his neck.

Another Class VII student from Indore was saved from jumping off a terrace by his teachers and friends when they saw him walking scarily close to the edge. The police said that the boy tried committing suicide in order to complete the final stage of the dreaded Blue Whale Game.

"Initial investigation suggests that the boy had been playing the Blue Whale game on his father's cellphone for the last couple of days," Additional Superintendent of Police Rupesh Kumar Dwivedi told PTI.

Earlier in July, Manpreet Singh, a 14-year-old, jumped to his death in Mumbai few days after telling his friends that he was playing the Blue Whale game.

India Today had reported that a neighbour even spotted Singh walking on the ledge of his building's terrace shooting a selfie moments before jumping off.

While the government has tried to ban links from social media sites and search engines, a cyber expert has said that it won't be an easy task keeping children away from this dangerous game.

Udbhav Tiwari from Centre of Internet and Society told PTI, "Since there is no application or one specific website for the challenge, it can't really be banned — not unless you completely ban the internet."

PTI also reported that it is usually the administrators of the game that get in touch with teenagers through hashtags linked to the game.

The game has taken several lives across the world, with 130 lives in Russia where it originated in 2015.

Its creator Budeikin, who is now behind bars, had said earlier, "There are people - and there is biological waste. Those who do not represent any value for society. Who cause or will cause only harm to society. I was cleaning our society of such people."

But even as police need to confirm the two cases in Kerala, it is clear that the game has made its way into India and is putting many children at risk.

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