The deadly online game, Blue Whale Challenge, is suspected to have claimed another victim in India. A 17-year-old boy from the state of Madhya Pradesh allegedly jumped in front of a speeding train on Saturday (2 September) night to kill himself.
Friends of the victim, Satvik Pandey — a student of grade 11 in Damoh city, claimed that the boy was "quite absorbed in the Blue Whale game for the past few days".
However, police said that the parents of the boy denied blue whale game as the cause of their son's death and blamed it on academic pressure. Police have reportedly launched an investigation into the teenager's death.
Police said that a CCTV camera installed at a house near the railway tracks where the teenage boy committed suicide recorded the incident.
The footage showed the boy standing near the tracks and then kneeling down on the tracks as a train is seen approaching him. The video then shows the train hitting the boy. The incident took place around 11pm local time (6.30pm BST) and the police came to know at around 2am on Sunday (3 September), The Times of India reported.
Prakash Dube, the victim's maternal uncle, told police that he had left home at around 9pm on his bike. He added that the police informed the family about the tragic death in the early hours of Sunday.
Pandey's father, who works as a clerk in a government department, and his school teacher mother both denied knowledge about their son being involved in the online game. They told police that the boy was driven to kill himself out of frustration over studies and not the game.
"Satvik was weak in mathematics and he took the extreme step out of frustration," police quoted the family as saying, according to Indo-Asian News Service.
However, two of his schoolmates — Atif Khan and Rohit — reportedly confirmed to police that Pandey was playing the dangerous online game. "We came to know a few days back that he was playing Blue Whale. He had told us that he was playing the game," Khan said.
Police, meanwhile, has said their investigation will involve all the possible angles of his death.
If confirmed that Pandey's death was indeed linked to the deadly online game, it will be the latest in a series of deaths reported in India in the past few days.
Vignesh, a college student from the south Indian city of Madurai, was found hanging from a ceiling fan on 30 August, who wrote before dying: "Once you enter, you can never exit".
The game, allegedly masterminded by a Russian, has already claimed several young lives across the world. The game throws multiple challenges at the players that require them to inflict harm on self, with the final task calling for committing suicide.