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Russia Willing To Assist India In Controlling Blue Whale Challenge

Madurai:  Russia is willing to help India in controlling the Blue Whale Challenge, its vice consul in south India informed the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai.

The court is hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by it following the recent suicide of a Madurai-based college boy, who had allegedly taken to the online challenge.

Vice Consul Michael J Gobartov said in a report submitted before the bench that the Russian government was willing to render assistance to the High Court and the government of Tamil Nadu.

“The game is a kind of challenge which instructs the participants to complete a series of challenges, which varies from listening to “dark songs”.. getting up at mid-night to increasingly macabre tasks like self-harming and allegedly culminating in supervisor demanding the player to end his own life,” the report said.

The diplomat said the challenge, whose origins are not known, can be accessed through multiple platforms.

VK.com, a Russian social online media site, was not the birthplace of the twisted sub-culture which goaded teens to kill themselves and hence it would not be wise to ban that site, he said.

Entering into the challenge was also a tough task as it has different checks, it said.

The report said an investigation in Russia revealed that only eight suicides were related to the Blue Whale Challenge though thousands took part in it and many viewed it as a challenge for the self. In Russia, one Philipp Budekyin was found guilty of inciting teenagers to commit suicide and sentenced to three years in jail, it added.

The link between Blue Whale and suicides in India and other countries including China were not proven, the report said.

R Rajagobal, chairman of Indo-Russian Centre for Rural Development, who presented the report on behalf of the vice consul, said the only way to prevent the Blue Whale menace was to create awareness among youngsters.

The High Court had on September 12 said the Indian government should seek Russia’s cooperation and use diplomatic channels to block URLs and take penal action against those who provided such links and promoted them, under the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code.

On September 4, the Court had directed the Central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore possibilities of banning the “game”.

Justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan had earlier said they would take suo motu action against the deadly online challenge.

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