Jodhpur/Chandigarh: Two teenagers have tried to kill themselves as part of the deadly Blue Whale challenge which has claimed many lives, with authorities in several states mulling over steps to tackle the menace of the online game which ends with the participants killing themselves.
In Rajasthan's Jodhpur, a 17-year-old girl, who was rescued after she tried to commit suicide by jumping into a lake, made another attempt to kill herself.
The Class X student had told her parents that she was going to meet her friends and on Monday night she carved the shape of a whale on her arm and threw away her mobile phone before jumping into the lake, police said.
The girl on Tuesday allegedly again attempted suicide by consuming some tablets kept in her house. She was rushed to a private hospital and admitted to its ICU.
A doctor said she was out of danger but has been kept in ICU for examination of her vital organs and added that she was depressed.
In Pathankot, a 16-year-old boy allegedly attempted suicide by hanging himself from a fan as part of the game. His parents of the teenager had been observing unusual behaviour in him for the past several days.
Pathankot civil hospital, psychiatrist, Sonia Mishra said during counselling, the boy, who carved the shape of a whale on his left forearm, acknowledged that he
had been playing the online challenge for the past couple of months.
"While accepting the challenge of the blue whale game, the boy has jumped from the roof and even burnt his books," said the doctor.
The doctor said, "the boy was told in the challenge if he did not complete the task of committing suicide, then his parents could die."
The teenager, whose father is an army man and mother a teacher, was playing this game with a group of 10-15 friends, she said.
Following the incident, the district administration of Pathankot in Punjab has issued directions to the department concerned to hold counselling sessions for children in schools so that they stay away from it.
Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said his government was making efforts to ban the online game but he also blamed the "western culture for the increasing trend of such games".
"The Blue Whale challenge is not a part of our tradition. A student creates a different world through this game. The things (culture) coming from the west are dangerous. Efforts are being made to ban this game," Chouhan said, referring to the incidents of alleged suicide by children.
He said parents, family, society and government, all are responsible for this situation.
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy appealed to the Centre to take immediate steps to prevent its spread.
He said detailed letters would be written to the Prime Minister, Union home and HRD ministers, urging them to bring in "effective steps to curb the spread of the menace".
He said timely intervention by the Puducherry police helped in the rescue of a 21-year-old woman bank employee and also a 22-year-old man in Karaikal in the last few days.
Several such cases of attempted suicide have been reported from across the country, sparking concerns.
In the game, the player is given certain tasks to complete over a period of 50 days. The final task leads him or her to commit suicide.
The game starts by asking participants via social media to draw a whale on a piece of paper, then carve the whale figure on their body. It is followed by other tasks such as watching horror movies alone, waking up at unearthly hours or self-harm.
The Noida police has also advised parents to monitor their child's social media accounts and make them aware about Internet safety to protect them from malicious activities like the Blue Whale challenge.
The online game has exposed the vulnerability of children as online games may prove disastrous for them if the parents do not keep a tab on their Internet surfing, P K Upadhyay, district-inspector of schools, said.
"Parents should have access to their child's computer and mobile phone to regularly track the sites being surfed by them. There is also a need to monitor their social media accounts on Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter," said Upadhay.