The story has been updated on accounts of 10 arrests being made by the Rajkot police for playing PUBG.
The inevitable has finally happened. Just days after the famous online multiplayer mobile game PUBG announced its first anniversary, the game has run into trouble with the Indian law enforcement.
A week after a ban on the game was imposed by the Rajkot police, 10 people have been arrested on charges of playing PUBG, 6 of whom are under-graduate students.
According to The Indian Express, the police has seized their mobile phones “for the purpose of investigation.”
Police Commissioner Manoj Agrawal who had issued the statement for the ban said that the offence is bailable and the case will go to the courts and there will be a trial for not following the notification issued.
The initial ban on the game was announced by Rajkot police with multiple other cities following suit.
According to a statement released by the Rajkot Police Commissioner Manoj Agrawal, the ban that came into effect from 9 March will continue till 30 March 2019.
Following this, other Indian districts like Bhavnagar and some parts of Gir Somnath also called for the ban of the game citing it to be “addictive” and harmful for children. The district magistrates of both these areas issued the statement banning PUBG.
During the ban, anyone can complain against someone playing PUBG and if found guilty, action can be taken against the offenders/gamers under section 188 of IPC, provided certain conditions exist.
Section 188 of the IPC states that if someone disobeys an order promulgated by a lawful authority AND:
“...if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both...”
As a result, just playing the game itself should not give rise to criminal action, this only applies if the gamer is causing an obstruction, annoyance or injury. While these are terms which are open to interpretation, the explanation to the section contemplates that there must be harm or a risk of harm for an offence to have taken place under it.
A similar ban has been imposed on the ‘momo challenge’, which forces people to complete a series of challenges.
However, policemen have been exempted from this ban, as they need to play/use the game to investigate. Also, educational and research institutions have been exempted from this ban.
The statement that was released is said to highlight specifics about the game inciting violent behaviour among players, many of whom are school-going kids.
The game is also said to hinder the education process. The idea though seems to be far fetched as there is no proof to this argument and there are many other online multiplayer games, which are much more violent than PUBG.
The circular also states that the "behaviour of the player changes over a period of time."
PUBG players and fans of the multiplayer gaming community have taken to Twitter to vent their anguish on the game’s ban.
PUBG hasn’t released any statement on this issue although it has taken feedback from various sources and in all probability will look into the issue.
— with inputs from PTI