In a span of 24 hours, two schoolboys allegedly obsessed by the "Blue Whale" online suicide game have been saved in the nick of time. Last week, a teenager's suicide from a high-rise building in Mumbai was linked to the deadly game.
A 14-year-old boy from Solapur in Maharashtra, who left home yesterday allegedly to complete a "Blue Whale" task, was rescued by the police from a bus to Pune, around 250 km away. "He was on his way to complete a task in the challenge," said a police officer, noting that the boy appeared "lost" and was silent when he was found. The boy's father, a businessman, took him from the police station.
The Class 9 student was "addicted" to the game, where a player is given 50 tasks by his handlers and is finally manipulated into take on the final dare - suicide.
"After the boy went missing, his parents started inquiring with his friends when they came to know that he was playing the 'Blue Whale Challenge," said a police officer.
Hours before this incident, a 13-year-old boy had tried to jump off a window of the third floor of his school building in Madhya Pradesh's Indore. He fought two classmates who tried to hold him back. His physical training instructor then rushed to help the boys and save him.
His family never realized that he was playing the game on his father's mobile phone.
"By our counterparts in Solapur as soon as we were informed, we intercepted the bus and rescued the boy, who was on his way to complete a task given by the Blue Whale
Challenge game," a police officer said.
The Blue Whale Game originated in Russia. Gamers are asked to complete and upload videos of a series of dares over 50 days, which includes carving a blue whale on one's arm.
Last week, a 14-year-old boy posted his photo on Instagram and called in his last picture before jumped off a high rise building in the Andheri suburb.
The police said they were investigating and trying to establish whether this was India's first "Blue Whale" case.
"We are probing the 'Blue Whale' suicide challenge angle, and talking to his friends and members of the social messaging app group where this (suicide) was discussed," an officer said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the state assembly that his government would investigate the teenager's death.