Blue Whale Challenge: At least 75 Whalers in Tamil Nadu's Madurai

Death of a 19-year-old opens a can of worms after his smart phone gives cops access to a 75-members-strong WhatsApp group of gamers who could be hooked to the challenge

Published: 01st September 2017 07:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2017 08:21 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

MADURAI: A day after a college student ended his life to fulfil the last condition to become a Blue Whale Challenge champion, Madurai Superintendent of Police on Thursday made a startling revelation that they have identified over 75 people clandestinely playing the proscribed online killer game in the district.
Details of the fatally addictive game’s reach in the hinterland of the district came to light when the city police scrutinised the data retrieved from Vignesh’s (19) phone.

The 19-year-old college student from Mottamalai near Vilachery had hung himself to death to fulfil the last challenge posed by the controversial Blue Whale challenge on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a special team, comprising members of the cyber crime cell, has been formed to investigate Vignesh’s death.

Addressing a press meeting here, Superintendent of Police N Manivannan said that data from Vignesh’s phone revealed a WhatsApp group of 75 members, who were allegedly playing the game and initiating gullible people to follow suit. Manivannan said that Vignesh had been playing the game for the past 50 days. “The data retrieved from the phone would come in handy in identifying Vignesh’s peers in the virtual arena,” he added.

Meanwhile, as part of a larger plan to prevent more people from falling prey to the game, the Superintendent of Police said that a Counselling Cell, headed by Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Kalavathi, has been established. The Cell comprising social activists and policemen would counsel youngsters to steer clear of the killer game.

A mega sensitisation campaign to wean students away from the online challenge would be organised within 10 days in schools across the district. A special team under Grievous Crime Cell Inspector Parameshwari has been formed to keep track of suspicious activities based on inputs from parents and teachers. The Cell can be reached at WhatsApp number 7708806111, the Superintendent of Police said, while advising parents to be on the lookout for behavourial changes in their wards.

How Blue Whale hackers prey on you

A 19-year-old college student’s death has stirred officials into an overdrive. However, before pressing the panic button, here’s what you must know about the game, Vinodh Arulappan finds out

Smartphone or on computer
As most schoolgoing children these days possess a smartphone, they have ready access to it
Hackers or administrators send the game link through online platforms like Facebook and Twitter

Once you click the link
Register yourself using your email id or mobile number or both
Minutes after registering, all data from your account is hacked
Even erased content can be hacked from the computer or phone

Prove that you did it
At the end of every task, a photograph or a selfie indicating an accomplished task has to be sent to the administrator
Once the photographs are approved, the players ability would be rated and the next tasks would be given

Cops into an overdrive

A day after a 19-year-old succumbed to Blue Whale Challenge in Madurai, Collector K Veera Raghava Rao on Thursday ordered officials to bring internet cafes under stricter scrutiny. He said that the internet cafes across the district would be under continuous monitoring and a special cell comprising officials from social welfare, child protection, education and health departments to look into complaints about the game.

In Coimbatore, the city police team and the ‘Know Your Police’ team will reach out to schools and colleges and spread awareness about it. There has been multiple incidents of children discussing the blue whale challenge or injuring themselves through the ‘tasks’ given to them from across the country. However, the reach the game had has only been made known now.

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