A 14-year-old boy of Mumbai, Manpreet Sahans, committed suicide by jumping from his seven-floor building’s terrace on Saturday. The boy took a picture before committing suicide in which he was sitting on the terrace parapet with only his legs being visible. The photo was captioned: ‘Soon the only thing you would be left with is a picture of me.’
But this seems to be no ordinary suicide. Investigations reveal that this could be India’s first case of death linked to the social media challenge called ‘Blue Whale’ as the boy was addicted to the game.Blue Whale is a challenge-based underground game with a shadowy history, and has previously been linked to suicides in Russia and other countries.
Sahans was a class 9 student. He stayed with his parents and two elder sisters. He dreamt of becoming a pilot and had even expressed the desire to go to Russia for training. Coincidentally, Russia is the country from where the Blue Whale Challenge is believed to have originated.
Investigations reveal that Sahans had searched the internet for ways to jump from the terrace just two days before he committed suicide. It has also come to light that while leaving school on Friday, Sahans told his friends that he won’t be coming to school on Monday.
Sahans’ behaviour had changed completely from a week before he took his life. His parents did doubt his intentions but never did they expect him to commit suicide.
On the day of the suicide, Sahans went up to the terrace and sat on the parapet for over 20 minutes. He sat there talking to his friends on social media where he even told them that he was going to commit suicide, but no one took him seriously.
A police officer, who is part of the investigation said, “A person from another building saw Manpreet sitting on the parapet and kept asking him to get down. Manpreet even took a selfie with the person from where he was sitting and posted it on the group. He told his friends that one person was stopping him from committing suicide and that he would jump once he goes down.”
The man on the other building left his terrace to save Sahans. On seeing the person coming his way, Sahans jumped from the terrace. By the time the man reached, Sahans had already jumped. He even took him to the hospital but he was declared dead there.
What is the Blue Whale Challenge?
It is a social media phenomenon said to have originated in Russia. The game gives players a series of 50 quests with the final task being that of asking them to commit suicide. The game also asks players to document the completion of each task in the form of photographs.
The players are supposed to send evidence of their completion of the tasks to the game’s administrator who then qualifies them to attempt the next task.
The tasks in the beginning seem rather innocuous like watching a scary video at 4 AM, but it keeps getting disturbing like writing/drawing on arms with sharp objects. The final task it where players are asked to jump off a terrace building and document the final act in the form of photos/video.
Blue Whale Challenge has spread across several countries and taken lives of hundreds of teenagers. Its creator was arrested by Russian police earlier this year.