TikTok, the popular short video platform, was recently banned in the country, forcing platform vendors such as Apple and Google to drop the app from their app stores. On account of the ban on TikTok, the call for ban on PUBG, the popular battle royale game is renewed in the country. A media report claims that the Rajkot Police has written to Google requesting the search and ad giant to restrict Android users from downloading PUBG Mobile from Play Store. While the police is yet to receive an official response from Google, the request is limited to jurisdiction of Rajkot city.
The game has been in the cross hairs of politicians and has faced criticism from parents and even school teachers. PUBG Mobile is estimated to have around 120 million users in the country and has been described as spreading violent behavior among young users. It has also faced criticism from causing mental imbalance and affecting the mental state of those who play the game. There is at least one public interest litigation being filed against the game, which seeks the government to curb it. The renewed call for a ban comes after the game was already banned in the state of Gujarat once.
The game was banned in Gujarat last month based on a directive from the state’s home department. The ban was followed by arrest of 10 people found playing the game and there is at least 15 FIRs filed since the ban came into effect. The ban was revoked in Ahmedabad but is still applicable in Rajkot. Now, the Rajkot police wants to do more than cracking down on players. “We have said we have banned this, so if possible, if in any IP of this area they are downloading the game then we have said, stop it if you can,” Manoj Agrawal, the Rajkot police commissioner told Firstpost.
The government ban imposed in Rajkot is applicable for a period of two months from the time of its issue. The ban remains operational until the first week of May and can be renewed. The Rajkot police arrested PUBG Mobile players in several placed under IPC section 188 for disobeying a direct government order. Those booked in the city were reportedly brought to the police station and let off from there following the registration of an FIR. The commissioner hints that even non players could be arrested for not informing police about someone who is playing PUBG Mobile in the city.
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The government order imposing the ban on PUBG Mobile said the directive was based on the addictive and violent nature of the game. However, the ban sparked outrage and criticism on social media for being an excessive measure. “Its effects are very bad and it can have an impact on children, so the government thought it wise to stop it,” said another police official. Now, in a new measure, the Rajkot police wants Google to prevent users from downloading the game as a measure to further impose the ban on PUBG Mobile.