Over the last few weeks, there has been a growing animosity against Player Unknown's Battlegrounds popularly known as PUBG in India. If the year 2018 was all about celebrating PUBG Mobile's success in the country, well, the year 2019 is all about demanding a ban on the game.
There are many angles to PUBG ban controversy in India and the most important thing that we all need to address is the addiction among those who play the game. Other than that, there is a growing discomfort among parents because of PUBG. There are also cases of aggression among players who tend to get violent and reckless at times.
We have heard about so many cases where people were aggressive in terms of not just the gameplay but also outside of the game like in this case.
Achyuta Rao, president of a children’s advocacy group in Hyderabad, said he wrote a letter to the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, a government agency, asking it to encourage city authorities to ban the game, citing the death of a 21-year-old man in late March who had played PUBG almost non-stop for four days.
“Children are addicted and it is causing psychological disturbances. Horrible images infiltrate their minds and cause adverse effects. Only a national ban will have a positive result,” Rao told AP.
Dr. Radhika Acharya, a clinical psychologist in Hyderabad, said she also supports a ban.
She described a teenage patient who locks himself up in his room for hours to play the game, threatening to kill his parents if they interrupt him.
“PUBG desensitizes young people and damages their emotional development. It is all about linking success to violence and inflicting pain. It has a very negative effect on children, adolescents and even older people,” she said.
Avid player Anirudh Ishaan, 23, said the game is “extremely addictive” and a source of conflict with his parents, but didn’t think it should be banned or be grounds for an arrest.
“Banning the game is a very extreme step,” he said. “You can take a middle path, or a moderate step, but how can you call someone who is playing a video game a criminal? We are not doing anything illegal.”
PUBG Mobile’s Indian distributor Tencent said last month that it was “working to understand the legal basis of such bans,” and hoped to convince Indian authorities to withdraw them.
In China, however, PUBG Mobile bowed to the demands of authorities, installing a digital lock that keeps children under 13 from the game.
Some observers do not think the bans in India will survive a legal challenge.
The Internet Freedom Foundation in New Delhi has filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court asking for the bans to be declared unconstitutional and for criminal charges against the two dozen defendants, whose identities have not been disclosed, to be dropped.
“If you curb someone’s freedom, you have to have logical reasoning and a legal basis. You need to support your claim that the game leads to violence and hatred with reasoning instead of this kind of arbitrary ban which deprives people of their freedom,” said Karnika Seth, a lawyer in New Delhi.
The Gujarati city of Ahmedabad has already revoked its ban, according to reports.
The two dozen people who have been arrested in Gujrat could face up to six months in jail. However, Manoj Agrawal, police commissioner of Rajkot, a district in Gujarat where most of the young people were charged, thinks it unlikely that such a stiff sentence would be imposed.
“It’s more likely that they will be given a warning by the court that they must follow the law of the land,” Agrawal said.
(With AP inputs)