2 Kerala Families Claim Blue Whale Deaths, Carved Initials On Bodies

Manoj's mother claimed that as a result of engaging with Blue Whale, Manoj had once hurt himself using a compass and jumped into a river though he did not know how to swim.

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2 Kerala Families Claim Blue Whale Deaths, Carved Initials On Bodies

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Manoj's mother told a TV channel that her son downloaded Blue Whale game in November.

Thiruvananthapuram: 

Highlights

  1. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked centre to ban Blue Whale
  2. Families of 2 young men who hung themselves blame the game
  3. Cops say no evidence yet of links to the online Blue Whale Challenge
A police team visited the home of a Kerala teen this morning after his family alleged that he killed himself because of the online Blue Whale game which challenges its players to commit suicide. Manoj C Manu, 16, hung himself at his house in Vilapilasala near the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram on July 26. His mother told a Malayalam TV channel that her son mentioned playing the game in November, after which he began hurting himself - injuries included cutting himself with a piece of broken glass and carving the initials "ABI" into his arm, using a compass. It's not clear what the initials stood for.

"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," she said.

In retrospect, she suggested, there were signs that he was taking up the life-risking challenges that Blue Whale dares its users to perform. For example, he jumped into a river though he did not know how to swim and had to be rescued.

In April, she recalled, for the first time, he referred to death, asking her, "What if I die? Will you be upset?" Two weeks before he died, he watched a rash of horror movies, she said.

Earlier this month, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to the centre demanding a ban on Blue Whale, which originated in Russia and presents players with a list of formidable tasks to be completed in 50 days; the final assignment is suicide.

"There is no confirmatory evidence that the boy played this game at all or the death is related to the Blue Whale App. But the boy's mother has made these allegations and we are looking into it," senior police officer Manoj Abraham told NDTV.  

But today, another Kerala family has claimed that a a 22-year-old man, who hanged himself at home last month in Kannur, was addicted to Blue Whale.  

The victim, identified only as Sawant, had slashed his arms with a blade, carved initials in his chest like the schoolboy who died, and stayed up through the night playing computer games, his mother told news agency Press Trust of India.

Teen deaths in different countries including China and Brazil have been linked to Blue Whale.  At the end of July, a schoolboy in Mumbai died after jumping off a building; the case was seen as the first Indian death linked to Blue Whale Challenge, though the local police has said there is no evidence yet of this premise. Last week, two teen boys in Indore and Solapur were stopped from killing themselves after having completed most of the other challenges listed by the game.

The central government has asked major online players including Google, Facebook, WhatsApp to ensure they remove links that lead to or promote the game. A petition in the Delhi High Court today asked for all references to the game to be banned on different sites. Women and Child Welfare development Minister Maneka Gandhi suggested on Twitter that parents carefully monitor their children's phone and online activity in light of the increasing Blue Whale concerns.

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