Blue Whale challenge: 17-year-old Haryana student hangs himself
Karan Thakur, a 17-year-old student of Chandigarh's DAV School, reportedly hanged himself in Panchkula, Haryana. Thakur's mother claims he had taken up the deadly Blue Whale challenge on his cellphone. She said he was addicted to the game and was taken to a psychiatrist but to no avail. The case is being investigated by police.
The challenge supposedly originates from online social media groups, where the administrator sets out tasks for participants to complete. The tasks range from self-mutilation to waking up at ungodly hours; and when the 50th day approaches, participants are brainwashed into committing suicide in order to complete the challenge. The targets for these challenges are comprised of teenagers; some as young as 14.
The masterminds behind this "sick" game use pressure tactics when the participants try to get out of the game. Threats come in the form of leaking personal information or harming people who are related to the participant. The participant has to prove that he/she has completed the task by sending pictures and if one fails to do so, it would get them disqualified.
In May 2016, Russian citizens discovered this phenomenon and associated "death groups" after Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper, reported about a 12-year-old girl who had committed suicide. Soon, it gained traction among Brazilian teenagers who are calling this online death trap 'Baleia Azul'. The Blue Whale challenge has entered the UK as well, with Essex Police informing schools about the fatal nature of the game.
In May, 21-year-old Russian Philipp Budeikin, the alleged creator, was arrested for inciting at least 16 teenagers to kill themselves. According to Budeikin, "(The victims) were dying happy. I was giving them what they didn't have in real life: warmth, understanding, connections." He claimed he was "cleansing society" by ridding it of "biological waste". Budeikin is currently held at Kresty Prison in St Petersburg.
The first death in India believed to be linked to the global Blue Whale was reported on July 29, when a 14-year-old boy allegedly jumped to his death from the fifth floor of a building in Mumbai. On August 12 came the second alleged case: a Class X student in WB suffocated himself to death. At least two other teenagers have been rescued.