A young man died after accidentally consuming ornament cleaning chemical instead of water while playing PUBG Mobile, a free-to-play multiplayer battle royale game that has amassed a huge fan base across the globe. Saurabh Yadav, a 20-year-old resident of Gwalior, was travelling to Agra by train but succumbed to death mid-way.
Yadav was accompanied by his friend Santosh Sharma, who told the police that it was an accident. But Sharma has been arrested and charged with culpable homicide and victim's family accuses Sharma of intentionally giving him the acidic liquid.
Sharma, a jeweller, frequently travels to Agra on work. He was carrying the chemical used to clean silver ornaments, which Yadav drank while engrossed in the game, multiple reports have claimed. Immediately after realising what had happened, Sharma pulled the chain before Dholpur station, but train guard S K Choubey assessed the situation and decided to proceed the journey to Agra, which was 45 minutes away, SHO of Agra Cantonment said.
The senior divisional operational manager of Agra division, Ankush Goel, concurred saying "railway records show that chain was pulled at 2:40 p.m., between Dholpur and Mania stations. Since Agra was the only station with a better medical facility, the guard took the call for onward journey."
No doctors onboard
A medical team was kept on standby at the Agra station, but the lack of medical support on the train is appalling. Social activist Deep Sharma expressed his shock at the lack of doctors and paramedical staff on the train despite the railway minister's assurance of proper arrangements of such provisions on trains. He noted that the lack of an emergency medical team on board long train routes has resulted in several deaths.
But Sharma also warns of the perils of gaming addiction. He even compared PUBG to the notorious Blue Whale challenge, which claimed many lives.
"Earlier, during the Blue Whale game, children have taken dangerous steps like self-murder. In the same way, the dangerous results of PUBG game are coming out. Parents should focus on their children," Sharma said, according to India Today.
Mobile gaming has both positive and negative effects. On one hand, eSports is kicking off on a large scale in India while on the other hand, it is attracting a lot of criticism on the grounds of addiction. PUBG Mobile, in India, has seen both sides of the coin and a new incident adds weight to the negative press.
Everything in excess can lead to harm. Earlier this year, PUBG Mobile had shared a lengthy guide on the best practices while playing the game. Everything from maintaining an upright sitting position, to staying hydrated by drinking water at regular intervals and taking mandatory breaks every 45 minutes were stressed by the developers for the gaming community to follow.
It is important to strike a balance between the virtual and real-world and game responsibly.