PUBG lands 16 in jail in Gujarat

Police Commissioner Manoj Agrawal on March 6 issued a notification banning the online games PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) and 'Momo Challenge' in the city.

The Rajkot police have arrested 16 youths in three days for allegedly playing PUBG game on their mobile phones.

The game was banned by the Gujarat government in January, following reports of youths getting addicted to it.

PUBG, or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, is a survival-themed battle game that drops dozens of online players on an island to try and eliminate each other.

On Thursday, the police arrested six youths, aged between 18 years and 22 years, taking the total number of arrests to 16 in Rajkot city and district. The six were caught playing the game at a paan shop in the wee hours, and booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. They were released on bail later.

Most of the arrested so far are undergraduate students.

Following the ban on the game by the state government, police had issued a notification and warned that offenders would be arrested.

“We have seized their phones and other belongings which will be given back after due procedure in the court. We hope it deters them from playing the game,” said a police officer.

Rajkot police commissioner Manoj Agarwal said, “The exercise is being done as many people are getting addicted to the game.”

Ban will work only with awareness

The ban on PUBG has failed to deter gaming enthusiasts. The Safe and Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic at Nimhans, that deals with gadget addiction, has been receiving several cases of PUBG addiction. In fact, PUBG cases top the list of all the cases that are reported at the clinic, DHNS reports from Bengaluru. 

Manoj Kumar Sharma from the SHUT Clinic said, "It is not about PUBG alone, but any game that trends. We have been seeing at least two such cases a week." He said that one must be worried if it is a form of preoccupation, which leads to loss of control over everyday activities and one is unable to take a break.

"Ban is not the sole solution. It is one strategy, but it has to be mixed with awareness programmes, cyber literacy, and counselling and discussions with parents, teachers and students. Creating awareness is a better answer," he said.

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PUBG lands 16 in jail in Gujarat

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