Suicide Statistics

Expert panel could not establish link between suicides and Blue Whale Challenge, says Centre

In 2017, several suicides across the country were linked with the challenge in some form of the other, prompting demands that the game be banned.

The Centre on Tuesday said an expert panel that analysed the alleged Blue Whale Challenge suicides found no link between the deaths and the game, IANS reported.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that the Computer Emergency Response Team-India, which analyses cyber threats and counters them, investigated the suicides in various states and Union Territories.

“The CERT-In committee analysed the internet activities, device activities, call records and other social media activity, other forensic evidences and also interacted with rescued victims associated with these incidents,” Ahir said. “Involvement of Blue Whale Challenge Game in any of these incidents could not be established.”

The Blue Whale Challenge is said to be an online game in which a designated curator assigns players various tasks over a 50-day period, culminating in the player committing suicide. It is believed to have originated in Russia and spread to other countries. In 2017, several suicides across the country were linked with the challenge in some form of the other, prompting demands that the game be banned.

In October, the Supreme Court had called it a “national problem” and had told broadcaster Doordarshan to come up with an educational programme about the game’s impact. On September 4, the Madras High Court had asked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to explore if the Blue Whale Challenge could be banned. The same month, the Centre issued an advisory asking guardians to monitor their children’s online and social media activity.

In August, the Delhi High Court asked Facebook, Google and Yahoo to respond to a plea seeking a ban on the controversial game on their platforms.

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