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Tuesday, October 10, 2017 10:58:06 PM
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`Blue Whale` triggers countrywide panic

Home, ICT ministries, BTRC, cops still in dark to tackle 'suicidal game': Govt help line '2872'

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Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
The much-talked 'Blue Whale' game already has triggered panic among countrymen, mainly teenagers, who are almost habituated to play game on smart phone sets.
Many guardians also started to seize such luxurious phone sets from their children and beloved youngsters to save them from committing suicide influenced by the notorious game.
The entire nation expressed confusion that how a youth commits suicide being motivated by a game. But they bound to believe after getting experience of such game-related death of a 13-year old Apurba Bardhan Shorna in the Central Road area at Dhanmondi of Dhaka on October 5 and another death in Tamil Nadu, India recently.
Apurba Bardhan Shorna, daughter of Advocate Shubrata Barman, was a student of Class VIII of Holy Cross School and College at Farmgate. After Shorna's death, her father claimed that his daughter was addicted to the lethal game 'Blue Whale', and hanged herself later, family sources said.
In this context, the Home Ministry, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Police are sill in dark about the online suicidal game, sources said.    
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has issued separate instructions to take necessary steps to check the deadly 'Blue Whale' game.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has asked the telecom regulators to investigate whether the online game 'Blue Whale' has caused any death by suicide in Bangladesh.
He prodded the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to act after seeing media reports on a father blaming the game for his daughter's death in Dhaka.
"I've noticed the reports. I have asked the BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood to take a decision after investigating the matter," the Home told reporters at the ministry on Monday.
He said that he asked the BTRC to check if the schoolgirl was influenced by playing the game and whether anyone in Bangladesh was playing the game.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the authorities are trying to block the links that lead to the game. "We are monitoring this carefully," he said.
"We've seen that some links are used in this. We've spoken to the intelligence agencies and the BTRC. We trying to block these links," he said.
In a query, he said, "A team is working to find out how many people have committed suicide after being instigated by the game."
"We'll take action after scrutinising all the information of the game," he added.
The BTRC on Tuesday requested people of all strata to call "2872" regarding harmful mobile or online games, links and apps.
The telecom regulator made the call against the backdrop of operating of addictive and life threatening games by spreading weblink/address/group and apps through social communication platforms.
"About 7-8 days before her suicide, Shorna was in a state of severe depression. She used to confine herself in her room after coming home from school. She was seen busy with her mobile phone. Little by little, she was taking preparations for death inside," Advocate Shubrata Barman told The New Nation on Tuesday.
Soheli Ferdose, Assistant Inspector General  (AIG) of Police, told The New Nation yesterday, "Police are working to find out the clue of the so called lethal game after getting instruction from the high-ups of the government."
In a query, she said, "We are in dark about the game, its users and operators."
An investigation official said, "It has been alleged in many reports that the lethal game 'Blue Whale' is designed to engage its players emotionally. It triggers negative emotions among the players in steady steps to a point when the player loose reasoning ability and commits suicide to get relief from the mental agony."
"Shorna's parents were also informed and her mobile phone was checked. But the Blue Whale Challenge game was not found on her mobile phone. It was confirmed that the girl was not playing the game," he added.
'The Blue Whale Challenge', known as a 'suicide game', is an online game which reportedly leads the player to die by suicide after completing some tasks at different levels of the game. An expelled psychology student in Russia claimed to have invented the game. Experts believe copycat groups are using it now.
Philipp Budeikin, a 21-year-old former psychology student who was expelled from his university, Russia, claimed that he invented the game in 2013, become one of the most controversial online games worldwide and has been blamed for suicides by more than 130 teenagers worldwide
He said his intention was to cleanse society by pushing persons to suicide whom he deemed as having no value. The creator of the Blue Whale Challenge was arrested in May last, but the game continued to spread online and has been pushing people, mostly teenagers, to commit suicide.

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