West Bengal CID investigates suicides with suspected links to 'Momo Challenge', says most people received 'fake' invitations to play game

The West Bengal criminal investigation department (CID) said on Tuesday said it is probing the cases of alleged suicide blamed on an online game called Momo Challenge, and most of the messages received by people inviting them to play it were "fake".

Representational image. Twitter

Representational image. Twitter

There is no reason to panic or to connect the recently reported suicide cases in West Bengal to Momo Challenge, state CID deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Nishat Pervez told reporters in Kolkata.

All the numbers from where the messages were sent to the people in the state to play the Momo Challenge were based abroad and an investigation has been initiated into the matter, he said. "Almost all of the messages received by the people so far asking them to play the Momo Challenge are fake because there is no link leading to the game. There must be a link which will take the person receiving the message to the game. Fake messages can be created and that is what has happened," Pervez said.

Nobody in the state has so far reported anything about receiving links leading them to play the Momo Challenge, he said: "We have not received any single report of anybody getting a message that has taken him to a page on the Internet to play the game. And there was no complaint from family members of those who have committed suicide saying that they have died playing the game," the CID DIG said.

The investigation is at a very early stage, he said, adding that catching those creating fake messages will take time.

The Momo Challenge has reportedly claimed two lives so far. Eighteen-year-old Manish Sarki of Kurseong had hanged himself on August 20 and 26-year-old Aditi Goyal, also from the same area, committed suicide the next day reportedly after playing the Momo game on Whatsapp.

"We do not have any proof that they committed suicide after playing the Momo Challenge," Pervez said.

On 21 August, Jalpaiguri resident Kabita Rai had received an invitation over her mobile phone inviting her to play the Momo Challenge following which she had lodged a police complaint. A college student from the district was detained in connection with her complaint. A woman IT professional in the city had received a similar invitation last week and had approached the Kolkata Police cyber cell.

The CID DIG said that parents should keep a tab on their wards and counsel them in case they spot any change in their behaviour. The state administration has taken steps to combat the alleged threat. It has asked educational institutes to keep a tab on the behaviour of students and has alerted police stations in the districts to deal with it, officials said.

The 'Momo Challenge' apparently introduced by social networking site after 2017's 'Blue Whale Challenge', has made headway in several countries. The Game features a grotesque image of a girl with her face distorted and eyes bulging.


Updated Date: Aug 28, 2018 18:59 PM

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