The deadly Blue Whale game that resulted in several deaths

New Delhi: The death of a 20-year-old Indian student at the prestigious University of Massachusetts in the US, reportedly linked to the deadly Blue Whale Challenge, has raised fresh concerns over the suicide game.

As per sources, the first-year Indian student in the US was part of the fatal challenge and was holding his breath for two minutes.

He was found dead on March 8.

Dubbed the suicide game, it began in Russia and reportedly claimed the lives of over 130 boys and girls in the US, China, Ukraine as well as in India.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

Created by Philipp Budeikin, a former convict in Russia, in 2013, the game aims to psychologically provoke players to indulge in daring, self-destructive tasks for 50 days before finally taking the “winning” step of killing themselves — and each task must be filmed and shared as “proof”.

The game, played online, included dares like watching horror and psychic movies, and cutting their hands with blades and needles, among others.

In the majority of cases, curiosity lures young victims, and they are given easy-to-do takes making them addicted. Later they find themselves being psychologically manipulated into continuing with the tasks, which become increasingly more difficult over the 50 steps.

In a media interview, Budeikin stated that his purpose was to cleanse society by provoking people who think they are not worthy of being alive to commit suicide.

The game worked by selecting vulnerable “players” from social media who were handed out 50 tasks for 50 days, by “the curator,” via a Skype meet.

Players could not back out as they were “blackmailed and cyber bullied”.

Budeikin was arrested with charges of inciting at least 16 teenagers to kill themselves. He pleaded guilty and was also sentenced to three years in prison.

Cases in India

  • India saw the first victim of the deadly challenge in July 2017, when 14-year-old Mumbai schoolboy Manpreet Singh Sahani, jumped to death from the seventh floor of a building. It was followed by several cases, including a Class X student in West Bengal, who committed suicide. His body was found in the bathroom and his face was covered in a plastic bag and with a cord.
  • Another boy, son of a former minister, jumped to death in Delhi. A teenager in Kerala hanged himself to death allegedly while completing a Blue Whale challenge.
  • A Class VII student in Indore who recorded all 50 stages in his school diary, was pulled away at the last moment before he could take the final leap.

The role of the government

The Ministry of Electronics and IT in an advisory shared in 2017 called the Blue whale game “an abetment to suicide”.

With several deaths taking place in India, due to the game, the government in the advisory also asked parents and guardians to check if their children are staying aloof from family and friends, are persistently low mood and unhappiness, or have any visible marks like deep cuts or wounds on any part of the body of the child.

The government had also directed internet platforms like Google, Meta’s Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram as well as Yahoo to remove the links to the online game.


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