Why is PUBG still available in India: NCPCR asks IT ministry after teen shoots mom over game

Highlights
  • NCPCR sent a letter to the IT Ministry asking how a banned game like PUBG is still available.
  • This comes just days after a 16-year-old allegedly killed his mother in Lucknow after she stopped him from playing it.
  • NCPCR has also written to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) asking them to explain the status of PUBG and other such games in the country.

The National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) sent a letter to the Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, on Tuesday asking for an explanation in 10 days on how a banned game like PUBG is still available to children. For those unaware, after the PUBG ban in India back in 2020, it was rebranded and launched as BGMI. This comes just days after a 16-year-old allegedly killed his mother in Lucknow after she stopped him from playing it. A recent case also emerged in Andhra Pradesh wherein a 15-year-old boy allegedly killed himself after being teased over losing a PUBG game.

The NCPCR has also written to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) asking them to explain the status of PUBG and other such games in the country. The NCPCR noted that PUBG has been blocked in India by the IT Ministry “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State and public order.”

Why is PUBG available to children in India?

In view of the incident, it is beyond the understanding of the Commission, that how a banned game in India, which the Government of India has blocked is still available for use by minors,” the Commission has said in its letter asking the Ministry to explain the reasons behind the availability of a blocked game.

In its second letter to the president of IOA, Narinder Dhruv Batra, the NCPCR has noted that PUBG has been recognised internationally as an e-sport and has further received recognition from the Olympic Council of Asia. To this, the Commission has questioned IOA whether the game has been recognised as an e-sport by them as well.

We have also asked the authorities what is the regulating mechanism for such games. If these games are blocked in the country, how do children continue to have access to them? This is a matter of great concern to us, and needs to be addressed,” said NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo to The Indian Express.

The IT Ministry has 10 days to reply to the NCPCR. In September 2020, the Indian government had banned 118 applications, including PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite under Section 69A of The Information Technology Act, 2000.

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