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Panel formed to probe suicides due to Blue Whale challenge: Govt to HC

The ASG submitted that they are probing at the international level the origin, circulation and other related facts of the game

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Blue Whale challenge: Check your child's texts, call logs, says Goa police

A committee computer and other experts has been set up to probe cases of allegedly caused by the 'Blue Whale' challenge game, which is linked to the deaths of several children worldwide, the told the High on Thursday.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was also informed by the that it has issued directions to internet majors - Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Yahoo to ensure that all links of 'Blue Whale' and of similar games are immediately removed from their platforms.

"All the above-mentioned companies have agreed to abide by the direction," Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the government, said.

The sudden popularity of the lethal online game, in which the final task requires the player to commit suicide, had forced the to issue directions to the internet firms to remove its links.

Yahoo in its response said its internal policies and terms of services, already explicitly direct the users and prohibit uploading of any content that is unlawful, harmful, especially any activity that could harm a minor.

While explaining the detailed steps taken by the authorities to ban the game, the ASG submitted that they are probing at the international level the origin, circulation and other related facts of the game.

Seeking more time to file its final report, the ASG said a high-level committee under the Chairmanship of Director General Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) will investigate all cases where suicides have been committed or attempted allegedly using 'game'.

"This committee will carry out thorough technical analysis of PCs/laptop/mobile devices seized by the police and TSP (Telecom Service Provider) network analysis, other forensic analysis as deemed necessary and submit its report within 30 days," the government's compliance report said.

Allowing the government's request, the gave them time until December 4.

The Centre's response came in the backdrop of the court's direction to place before it the steps taken to comply with the Madras High direction to ban the 'Blue Whale' game.

Taking a serious view of the game, the Madras High Court had on September 4 asked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to explore the possibility of banning it.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Gurmeet Singh seeking immediate directions to restrain internet firms from uploading any material pertaining to the challenge game, citing cases of by children in and abroad.

Google India, which is a party in the case, had earlier told the bench that it was not a necessary party and Google Inc should be impleaded.

had also raised a similar plea in its application seeking its deletion from the array of parties, saying that services for users outside USA and Canada are provided by Ireland.

The high court had on August 17 expressed concern over children allegedly committing while playing the game.

The 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.

More than six children across India in the age group of 12-19 years have taken their lives allegedly while playing this game within a span of two weeks, reports have said.

Deaths of teenagers have also been reported from other countries including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile and Italy, the PIL has said.

First Published: Thu, October 12 2017. 21:15 IST