EVEN AS three more students of DAV Senior Secondary School in Sector 8, Chandigarh, came out on Thursday to declare they were hooked to the Blue Whale Challenge, the UT cyber cell, which began an official probe on Thursday, stated that the possibility could not be ruled out that hoaxers were using the Blue Whale Challenge bogey to trick teenagers into believing they were playing the game .
Inspector Harinder Singh Sekhon, incharge of the UT cyber cell, on Thursday visited the school where victim Karan Thakur (16) who committed suicide in Panchkula was studying. During his interaction with students, one of them claimed to have played the game and crossed several stages before giving it up. After school hours, Sekhon visited the child to get to know more about the Blue Whale game.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Inspector Harinder Sekhon said, “This Blue Whale game could be a hoax. When I asked the child, he told me he had received a pop-up link on Facebook. And I asked him to help me get into the game. He told me to enter Blue Whale AKP on Google. But when I did that, I found they are all hyperlinks to some other sites, including some pornographic sites.”
Sekhon added, “I tried hard to get into the game but I couldn’t.”
The cyber cell incharge said the police were investigating and would find out if somebody was playing a hoax on youngsters in the name of Blue Whale Challenge to “make the most of the situation”.
Sources said that at night, a student of DAV called to say that his friend was hooked to the game and wanted to come out of it. The school authorities immediately sent police officials to the boy’s house to ensure that the boy was not in harm’s way.
Apart from him, on Thursday, at speak-out session in the school from 9 am to 11.30 am to encourage students to share their thoughts with their class incharges, two other students admitted they had played the game but deleted the link as they got scared when they reached a second level when they were asked to harm themselves. It was one of these that Sekhon later approached. The three students are from standard IX, X and XI.
Sekhon delivered a short lecture to the staff on cyber safety. He also guided the teachers on how to deal with students suspected of playing the game. He instructed the teachers to confiscate the mobile phones of such students immediately and hand them over to the police without switching them off.
After the suicide of victim Karan Thakur on Saturday for which the family blamed Blue Whale challenge, the Panchkula police had identified 11 more students hooked to the Blue Whale game.
Mobile phones of the victim’s close friends who were ‘on the verge of performing the deadly tasks’ were confiscated. As the Panchkula police found it difficult to know what this game was all about, they sent five phones, including that of Karan Thakur, to Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre in Gurgaon to analyze the data and retrieve the deleted one.