Explore possibility of banning Blue Whale Challenge, HC tells centre
Madurai: Taking a serious view of the Blue Whale Challenge game, the Madras high court on Monday directed the central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore the possibility of banning it. Initiating suo motu proceedings in the matter, justices K.K. Sasidharan and G.R. Swaminathan of the Madurai bench issued notices to the union information and broadcasting secretary and state home secretary and IT department and made several suggestions.
The bench asked them to explore the possibility of banning the game. During the hearing of the matter, the state government informed the court that the student who ended his life had shared the game with 75 others. However, all of them had been prevented from playing it, the government counsel added. The judges suggested to the state DGP and home secretary that severe warnings be issued to those who shared the “dangerous” online game with others.
On 1 September, the court had said it would take up the case suo motu when Krishnamurthy, an advocate, made an appeal for a direction to the union information and broadcasting ministry to ban such games. The advocate made the plea after 19-year old Vignesh, a private college student, allegedly committed suicide on 30 August in Madurai after playing the game. Vignesh had reportedly told his friends that he was “crazy” about the game and also told his parents that he was getting isolated due to his addiction for it. Later, in a suicide note, he had said “the game was a devastating one... Once you enter it, you would not be able to come out”.
The bench also said monitoring should be intensified to prevent further spread of the game through sharing. The court stressed on the need for creating awareness among students against playing such “dangerous” online games in educational institutions. To this, CB-CID police officials present at the court said they were keeping a close watch and taking steps to freeze the game. Warnings had been issued against those sharing and downloading the “deadly” online game, they added.
The state government also informed the court that Vignesh had shared the game through Facebook and the “Share it” App with 75 others. All had been prevented from playing the game, it said. The IT department should also give suggestions to prevent the sharing of such “dangerous” online games, the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing to 7 September.
The Blue Whale Challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete over a period of 50 days and the final task leads him or her to commit suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing each challenge. The game has claimed several lives worldwide.
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