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‘They threatened to kill my parents’: How a Blue Whale victim got ensnared and rescued

He laughs about it now, but the anxiety of playing the game, and keeping it a secret from everyone was preying on him and affecting him physically.

bhopal Updated: Sep 25, 2017 12:50 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Blue Whale,Challenge,Steps
Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture with message “Stay away from Blue Killer Whale : Don’t Play” at Puri beach in Odisha on Monday.(PTI)

“I was really afraid that if I did not commit suicide they would kill my parents,” says class 10 student Ramesh (not his real name), days after he was rescued from the clutches of the virtually threatening Blue Whale Challenge.

“They had also warned me not to tell anyone that I was playing the game, so in desperation I wrote about my predicament in the Sanskrit paper answer sheet last Wednesday, hoping someone would notice,” he revealed.

Luckily for him, his Sanskrit teacher Hemlata Sharma noticed the message and informed the headmaster of the school, Utkarsh Vidyalaya, and other officials who promptly counselled him to stop playing the game and assured him that nothing would happen to his parents, and it was an idle threat.

The Blue Whale Challenge, reportedly created by a former convict in Russia, is said to provoke players to indulge in daring, self-destructive tasks, which must be filmed and shared as “proof”, for 50 days before finally taking the “winning” step of killing themselves. Players also carve a whale-like figure on their arms.

Ramesh, who lives in Khilchipur, a small town in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district, had been playing the game for the past two months and his game administrator’s grip over him was total.

“I tried to follow each and every instruction given to me, like watching a horror film after midnight, but sometimes I fudged,” he says with a , adding how he copied an image from internet and submitted it when asked to “draw a whale on my arm”.

He laughs about it now, but the anxiety of playing the game, and keeping it a secret from everyone was preying on him and affecting him physically. “I had severe headaches and stomach cramps during that period, and often missed school,” Ramesh said.

To avoid being caught, Ramesh used to play the game after midnight, when his parents were asleep. At every step, there was a warning that something wrong would happen to his family if he did not complete the task.

But then his mobile developed a snag and he gave it for repair. It took around a week to repair it. And his exams were also nearing and he started studying, avoiding the game.

“But the messages I received became more ominous with each passing day and finally they threatened to kill my parents,” Ramesh said.

“I never realised that the game could be so dangerous, or otherwise I would never have searched for the game in the internet,” Ramesh said. He had been searching for the game on Google for some time and one day he got a link for the game which he opened and started playing.

Ramesh’s mother Rekha, though busy with her three other kids, said she had noticed that something was wrong. “He used to be very silent and often used to come home with fever. Only now I realise what was bothering him,” she said.

Father Radheyshyam Kalosia, an electrician with the local civic body, had gotten him the smartphone, but was unaware of his son’s activities and the ordeal he was going through.

Utkarsh School principal Anandilal Namdev, who was among the first to rush to Ramesh’s house after the discovery, said he was scared and hesitant to talk “when we met him”.

Chain Cause For More Worry

“But he has come out of it now. He is coming to school and behaving normally. It was very fortunate that we could intervene on time,” Namdev said.

But there is another worry bothering the principal.

“Ramesh has named two other boys in the schools who are playing this game and we are now talking to them. There is apparently a chain, and one of the tasks they have is to introduce someone to the game,” Namdev said.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 12:07 IST