Online suicidal games were always big in the West and now it has made its route in India too. In the last couple of years, the Blue Whale challenge claimed several lives before fading off. This year, Momo Challenge is posing serious threats. While in the case of Blue Whale the victim left a clear indication by needling a whale type drawing on his or her own hands, Momo challenge is a game in the dark which makes it more dangerous.
An Ajmer girl was found hanging at her home with her wrists slit. The young girl is dead. She left a note by her body which states her poor marks as the primary reason for her death. Initially, going by the note, Police considered it as a suicide. But after the parents figured out a particular trend in the events that led to their child’s death, they informed Police. Now, the Police has reopened the investigation and is not ruling out the possibility of the girl being a victim of Momo challenge.
In West Bengal, another similar incident was reported. A class 12 student was found hanging in a pig sty in Kurseong. There are rumours that Momo challenge is the prime reason behind it. However, Police completely denied all such possibilities. A couple of days later another story surfaced from West Bengal. A Class X student received a message on WhatsApp which had a link to download the Momo Challenge app. Out of curiosity, he downloaded the app and started playing the game. The first two levels were playable but things got weary when he reached level three, says the student.
In level three, he was asked to damage the most loved possession of his mother. The student immediately sensed something wrong and deleted the app, but it kept getting reinstalled every time the student uninstalled it. Even a ‘restore factory settings’ did not help the student and that is when he reported the scenario to the local Police station. Police along with CID started counseling the kid. They also believe that it is possible that him reaching to them is also a part of the game.
The Assam Police has also released several awareness campaigns. A recent post on Facebook read, “Your unrestrained curiosity can be fatal! Life is neither a challenge nor a game.” Adding, “If you receive MOMO challenge pictures and messages on WhatsApp, do not respond, but immediately inform nearest Police station.” The Cachar police also shared the same communication.
A cyber cell expert, who was closely involved in the Blue Whale investigation and rehabilitation, says MOMO challenge can be more fatal and dangerous as this leaves no trace. The expert says parents need to speak to their child more often and keep a track of each and everything the child is doing. The moment they notice something which is unusual, they should inform local police stations and make sure senior officials are involved, “This is not something which a lower level officer can immediately understand. That is why it is important that senior officials are involved as they can ask for immediate help from other departments too,” says the expert.