I’m sorry to report that the headline isn’t a weak attempt at humor: according to The Times of India, the west Indian city of Rajkot has seen at least 10 students arrested by local police for playing the popular Battle Royale game, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), after it was banned in several districts in the state of Gujarat last week.
Rajkot City Police explained in a tweet that the ban (issued by the Gujarat state government) was being enforced because the game – along with the Momo challenge (which has been debunked as little more than an urban legend) – encourages violence among young people who play it.
— Rajkot City Police (@CP_RajkotCity) March 7, 2019
As if it wasn’t odd enough for the state government to lump a multiplayer game together with an online hoax as a cause of violence, it’s also only taking these threats to the fabric of society seriously from March 9 until April 30 this year. That’s because it believes these forces of mass distraction are adversely affecting students’ academic performance, and could cause them to fare poorly at their exams (which typically run during these two months).
Police Commissioner Manoj Agrawal told The Indian Express that playing PUBG is a bailable offence, and that the students were arrested in public places. They’ll have to appear in court, though, and face a trial for not adhering to the ban.
That’s all well and good, but perhaps we should acknowledge the larger crime committed by the police and state, in failing to note that the Momo challenge is bogus, and that year after year, studies have no shown there’s no evidence to prove a link between violent games and aggressive behavior.
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