Udayavni Special

‘Black Panther is free’: Youth writes eerie note before hanging self to complete online game ‘task’


PTI, Jul 20, 2019, 8:50 AM IST

Pune: A 20-year-old man allegedly hanged himself in Pune in Maharashtra while trying to complete a task in a Blue Whale-like online game, police said on Friday. An official identified the youngster as commerce student Diwakar Mali of Lonikhand area of the city.

“Before hanging himself on Wednesday evening, he left a note which said ‘the black panther, which was in the cage, is free now and he is no longer in any kind of restrictions. The End’,” the official said.

The official added that the message possibly alluded to his task in the online game, with Mali referring to himself as “black panther”. The handwritten note, in Marathi and English, has a drawing of a black panther along with a line reading “sun will shine again”, he added.

“According to family members and neighbours, Mali was addicted to a Blue Whale-like online game. It is suspected he ended his life while completing some kind of task,” said the Lonikand police station official.

Mali’s mother, confirming his mobile phone addiction, said, “I appeal to all parents to put restrictions on their children’s phone usage. I lost my son but parents should pay attention to their children,” she said.

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 Organization’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.

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