A 20-year-old youth committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence in Perne Phata area while trying to complete a task in the ‘Blue Whale’ online game he was playing on his cellphone on Wednesday evening, said police.
The deceased has been identified as Diwakar alias Santosh Mali. He was a student of commerce at a college in Wagholi.
Police said a suicide note in Mali’s handwriting has been recovered from his room. Police Inspector Dagadu Hake of Lonikand police station said that the primary investigation has revealed that Mali was addicted to the ‘Blue Whale’ game on his cellphone.
“From the content in the sucide note and the investigation so far, we feel he has committed suicide to perform the task in the online game,” Hake told The Indian Express.
Mali’s suicide note has content in Marathi and English. “Those who caged the Black Panther…Our Sun will shine again…The caged Black Panther is free now and is not facing any restrictions now…The End,” Mali’s suicide note stated. Mali has also drawn images of panther in the suicide note. Police said his Facebook posts before committing suicide also suggest that he was addicted to the online game, in which he referred to himself as “Black Panther”.
Police said Mali was so addicted to the game on his cellphone that he did not attend his college for the last few days.
Mali’s mother also told mediapersons that her son was addicted to his cellphone.
Unable to stop her tears, the shocked mother appealed to all parents to be cautious about their children’s use of cellphone.
The ‘Blue Whale challenge’ is an online game in which players are asked to complete tasks in a set time frame, several of which include self-harm and even suicide.
The World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases has termed ‘gaming disorder’ as a pattern of gaming behaviour (digital-gaming or video-gaming) characterised by impaired control and increasing
priority given to gaming over other activities.
Lonikand police station, under the jurisdiction of Pune Rural Police, is probing the case further.
(With PTI inputs)