THE RECENT case of suicide by 16-year-old Panchkula boy Karan Thakur, which his parents blamed on the Blue Whale Challenge, shook Tricity.
But the guardians of the system, be it administration, education department or police department, actually don’t seem to know what the game is, indeed if it exists at all, and how the vulnerable can get trapped in it.
Despite a long advisory on the dos and don’ts for parents and teachers from his department, Education Secretary B L Sharma conceded he was ignorant about it and said that he had learnt only from the newspapers that the game is about a 50-day challenge which ultimately pushes the child to commit suicide. “I don’t know much about the game. It is just that according to the symptoms as shown in the media, our department also issued advisory. Teachers have been asked to observe the movement of the children,” he said.
Even as 10 of Karan’s classmates at DAV Senior Secondary School in Sector 8, Chandigarh, were found hooked to the game, the UT Administration made no effort to ask children how they had got into the game, to check the links they used, and understand how it works. Right now all efforts are focused on counselling.
Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police Jagdale Nilambari Vijay said that the authorities of DAV school where Karan studied had approached them to get counselling done. “The school had sought our help and our staff is carrying out the counselling of his close friends,” she said.
She added that all the Deputy Superintendents of Police and Station House Officers had been told to learn about the mechanism of the game to know what it is all about.
Panchkula police cyber cell threw in the towel early and just passed on the five mobile phones they had confiscated from students — one was Karan’s — to the Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre in Gurgaon to analyze the data and retrieve the deleted one. The students whose mobiles have been sent to the Gurgaon had details of the “performed tasks” taken up during the Blue Whale Challenge, as per the police. Also, one of the phones had a BW-related video.
A senior police officer said, “We tried to find some details but after we consulted the experts, we were told that links of all these games have an inbuilt Trojan which gives the administrator the right to delete data, thereby taking away all the clues that might be useful for investigation. That’s the handicap.”
UT Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal said he would try to get some details from students who have come out of it and give details to the cyber cell.
“Our aim is not to prosecute the children but actually to find out what this menace is all about. We would be happy if children share details with us so that we can get it investigated,” said the Home Secretary who said he was unclear about the online game that is shaking up the world of yougnsters.
Chairperson of CCPCR Harjinder Kaur who too was unaware of this said that they would interact with the students to know about it.
The UT Cyber cell is only now trying to find out what the game is, and its investigations are inching towards the conclusion that that someone could be playing a hoax on children in the Tricity using the name of Blue Whale. Inspector Harinder Singh Sekhon, incharge of the cyber cell, interacted with a student of Karan’s school to ask how he got into the game and came out of it. Sekhon tried hard but couldn’t find a way to get in.