Become forced to entertain games for entertainment. It would be surprising to hear this. But this thing can not be totally denied.
Let us tell you that around the world the stories related to Blue Whale games are trending. Instagram also issued a warning about the game. Philip Budadekin, who created this game, is now in the Russian jail. But it is still believed that such groups on the Internet are active. Those who can trap children in this game.
For example, to make blue whales with blood, watching day-to-day horror movies and waking up late at night. In the game, the person who plays the 50th day is said to be the winner by giving life to the winner. It is believed that these games have so far taken about 130 lives.
A Reddit user posted a completed list of tasks which were supposedly posted in a comment on a story about the game on a Russian news website. The list of 50 challenges has been translated from Russian.
1. Carve with a razor “f57” on your hand, send a photo to the curator.
2. Wake up at 4.20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.
3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.
4. Draw a whale on a sheet of paper, send a photo to curator.
5. If you are ready to “become a whale”, carve “YES” on your leg. If not, cut yourself many times (punish yourself).
6. Task with a cipher.
7. Carve “f40” on your hand, send a photo to curator.
8. Type “#i_am_whale” in your VKontakte status.
9. You have to overcome your fear.
10. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)
11. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to curator.
12. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.
13. Listen to music that “they” (curators) send you.
14. Cut your lip.
15. Poke your hand with a needle many times
16. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick.
17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.
18. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge.
19. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it
20. The curator checks if you are trustworthy.
21. Have a talk “with a whale” (with another player like you or with a curator) in Skype.
22. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling.
23. Another task with a cipher.
24. Secret task.
25. Have a meeting with a “whale.”
26. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it.
27. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to rails (visit any railroad that you can find).
28. Don’t talk to anyone all day.
29. Make a vow that “you’re a whale.”
30-49. Everyday you wake up at 4:20am, watch horror videos, listen to music that “they” send you, make 1 cut on your body per day, talk “to a whale.”
50. Jump off a high building. Take your life.
Across India, police find little connection to online suicide game but no pieces of evidence such can prove the blue-whale connection with those cases.
Media reports have blamed the computer challenge for prompting several youth to kill themselves. But the authorities are skeptical.
Blue whale conclusion
It is the same story with the “Blue Whale-linked suicides” reported from Mumbai and Delhi.
In Mumbai, a 14-year-old boy jumped to death from the terrace of a seven-floor building in Andheri East area on July 29. He had photographed himself sitting on the parapet just before jumping off and captioned it: “Soon the only thing you would be left with is a picture of me.” The death was reported in the media on July 31, as the first suspected case of Blue Whale-linked suicide in India.
While one news report claimed the boy had been playing the Blue Whale Challenge, attributing it to unidentified police sources, another quoted a friend of the victim saying almost all his friends knew he had taken up the challenge. This report went on to quote an unidentified teacher saying the boy was addicted to video games but he was not sure if Blue Whale Challenge was one of them. It also quoted unidentified school officials saying they had learned that the boy often talked about Russia over the past two years.
The police, however, contradicted these claims. “The cause of suicide is not known yet and no Blue Whale angle has emerged in our investigation,” said Pandurang Patil, senior inspector at Meghwadi Police Station who is monitoring the case. Patil, however, refused to explain how the Blue Whale angle had emerged in the first place.
In Delhi, the 19-year-old son of a former Manipur minister died after falling from the terrace of a restaurant in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas area on August 12. This death too was linked to the Blue Whale Challenge in a report published in The Times of India.
“From the preliminary investigation, it seems like a case of an accident and not suicide,” said Chinmoy Biswal, additional deputy commissioner of police. “We have registered a case under the charge of negligence causing death. We have questioned friends and acquaintances of the victim and no Blue Whale angle has emerged in our investigation so far.”
A few cases of attempted suicide in India have also been linked to the Blue Whale Challenge. One such case was reported from Indore in Madhya Pradesh. On August 10, a class 7 student tried to jump from the third floor of his school building. The 14-year-old was reportedly rescued by the physical education teacher, who was quoted in a news report as saying the boy had confessed to the principal that his suicide attempt was part of the challenge.
When Scroll.in contacted the teacher, Farooq Sheikh, he said he was not authorized to comment on the matter.
Sangeeta Poddar, the principal, said: “Our first responsibility was to save the boy. Later, we arranged for a counseling session, which was attended by the boy and his parents. It came to light that he often played games on his father’s phone. We cannot say anything beyond this as the matter is being probed by the police.”
The police said the boy “never took up the Blue Whale Challenge. “However, the boy is tech-savvy and he had known about the Blue Whale Challenge,” said Rupesh Dwivedi, additional superintendent of police in Indore. “During the investigation, it also emerged that he had come across the link to the challenge once on his father’s phone. But he never signed up for it.”
It also emerged, the police said, that the boy was extremely stressed because of some academic difficulties. The Blue Whale angle appeared because many of his friends were aware of the challenge and they raised suspicion. But it did not turn out to be so, said a senior police official who did not want to be identified.
A similar case was reported in Dehradun. In Maharashtra, a teenager who had left his home in Solapur early this month was rescued from a highway by the police. A report in Mid Day claimed he had left for Pune to execute a Blue Whale task.
Scroll.in could not independently verify the Blue Whale links in these two cases.
The Russia connection
India is not alone in reporting suicides linked to the Blue Whale Challenge. Russia is the epicenter of the phenomenon. A report on Snopes.com, which specializes in researching and fact-checking urban legends, explains how the trend was first reported by a Russian website Novaya Gazeta in May 2016. The Russian site had analyzed 130 suicides of children in the country from November 2015 to April 2016 and concluded that at least 80 of them were related to the Blue Whale Challenge. But Radio Free Europe, a broadcaster funded by the United States, investigated these claims and found that deaths across Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other former Soviet republics had been linked to the Blue Whale Challenge without any conclusive evidence.
In July this year, Russian authorities arrested a 22-year-old man they suspected of being the ringleader of the Blue Whale Challenge after he bragged about convincing teenagers to commit suicide. He has since been jailed for three years for inciting people to kill themselves, the Daily Mail reported.
In India, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi took up the matter with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last week, asking for the removal of all links to the Blue Whale Challenge from the social media. In her letter to the two ministers, Gandhi’s said the game was believed to have persuaded some 100 children and young adults to kill themselves in the United States, China and elsewhere, PTI reported.
On August 15, according to PTI, the Centre ordered Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to remove the Blue Whale Challenge from their platforms.
Twin suicides in Kerala
Two suicides most closely linked to the Blue Whale Challenge occurred in Kerala, one in Kannur district on May 19 and the other in the capital Thiruvananthapuram on July 27.
The young man who killed himself on May 19 was MK Sawant, 22, who had freshly graduated from an Industrial Training Institute. The other was Class 11 student named Manoj Chandran. Both hang them at home. Their parents have told the police they fell victim to the Blue Whale challenge.
Chandran’s mother, Anu, first raised the Blue Whale angle with the police on August 16, 20 days after her son’s death. She claimed she did so after being prodded by a friend who explained the threat posed by the challenge. Sawant’s mother, Sakhee, raised this concern almost three months after her son’s death, after hearing about Chandran’s case.
The police, however, have not been able to establish any connection between the suicides and the Blue Whale Challenge so far, nor have the parents been able to help the police with any evidence.
Anu said her son had once told her about a popular adventure game called Blue Whale, which would either drive people insane or lead them to suicide. That was in November 2016. “I asked him not to play that game,” she said. “I noticed many behavioral changes in him after December. But I did not take them seriously.”
As listed by his mother, the behavioral changes included Chandran refusing to study any further, wanting to tour India on a motorbike, and made late night visits to the beach and a cemetery.
Asked why she did not complain about Blue Whale Challenge immediately after her son’s death, she said, “I opened his mobile many days after his death. I did not believe when he told me that he visited cemetery and beaches at night. But I was shocked to see the videos on his mobile. Then I could easily establish the fact that he took the Blue Whale challenge.”
She added: “I approached the police after being prodded by a friend, who told me that Blue Whale Challenge would claim more lives in Kerala if I didn’t open up.”
Anu said she had tried to persuade Chandran to see a psychiatrist but he refused. She claimed she once saw the letters “ABI” cut into her son’s forearm with a sharp object and blood oozing from the injury. A report in The Times of India, however, quoted the station house officer of Vilappilsala police station as saying that the boy’s post-mortem did not reveal any signs of injury.
According to Sakhee, her son was addicted to video games and stayed up till late at night. She was convinced about the Blue Whale link after hearing of Chandran’s case, she said.
Sawant too had shown behavioral problems after passing class 10, she said. He once went missing for 10 days when he was studying in in Thalassery and had attempted suicide twice, in 2016 and 2017. “Sawant was being treated for depression for the past four years,” said Dr. Vineetha Tom, a psychiatrist at Christu Raj Hospital.
The police, however, have attributed Sawant’s suicide to a failed love affair.
Kannur district police chief Siva Vikram, who is probing Sawant’s death, said they have not found substantial proof to link the suicide to the Blue Whale Challenge.
K Anil Kumar, who recently retired as Assistant Commandant of Cyberdom, a technological research and development center of the Kerala Police, recommended a cautious approach before making any conclusions about the Blue Whale Challenge. “I think these are just rumors,” he added. “There were many inconsistencies in the complaints by the parents of the dead youngsters. Let the police complete the inquiry.”
With inputs from TA Ameerudheen in Kerala.