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The Bombay High Court today directed the Union government to file an affidavit in response to a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking a ban on the Blue Whale Challenge online game, which has triggered suicides in the country.
The PIL was filed yesterday by a city-based NGO, Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education, seeking a direction to the government to put an end to the online game.
Advocate Hiten Venegaonkar, appearing for the Centre, told a division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur that a similar matter was pending before the Gujarat High Court, in which the Centre had informed the court about an advisory issued by it against the game.
Chellur asked Venegaonkar to file an affidavit stating the same within a week.
To the petitioner, the chief justice said, "For everything, one cannot expect the court and government to take action and do something. Even the parents should check what their children are doing. Parents think their kids are in college, but they (kids) are in fact roaming elsewhere playing such games."
The petition also sought a 24-hour helpline number for the children (or their parents), who have fallen into the trap of the deadly online game.
"Downloading mobile games is very easy in India and the authorities are not equipped to handle such issues," the PIL said.
The state and Union governments should be asked to put an end to the online availability or circulation of Blue Whale Challenge and take legal action against any person found to be promoting or circulating it, the petition demanded.
On August 11, the Union information and broadcasting ministry had written to Google India, asking it to block the links related to the online game, it said.
The Blue Whale Challenge is about completing various tasks set by the administrators of the online game, some of which require the players to inflict injuries on themselves. The final challenge requires the players to commit suicide.
The game is believed to have originated from Russia.
Two days ago, the Rajasthan police had rescued a class 10 girl, who tried to kill herself as part of the Blue Whale Challenge by jumping into a lake.