Indian government arresting children caught playing PUBG

In March, the Indian state of Gujarat banned the incredibly popular battle royale shooter PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). While government officials tried – and failed – to have the game removed from the Google Play Store, the Gujarat government is enforcing the ban by arresting citizens caught with the game – including children.

PUBG is available on both PC and mobile devices, and reports indicate that the police enforcement strategy is to identify young boys in popular common areas (hostels, cafes, etc.) who are holding their smartphones sideways (“landscape mode”). Taking a cue from despotic communist regimes, the public is also encouraged to turn in their fellow citizens who play PUBG.

Players caught violating the ban are detained, then subject to both fines and jail time. The ban was actively enforced starting 9 March, and in just a few days, police had arrested 21 people caught playing the game.

Why was the ban enacted in the first place? A local law enforcement representative used emotionally-driven and scientifically disproven arguments claiming that for those who play games like PUBG, “violent traits are shown to be increased in youth and children.”

The government ban has not been embraced by everyone, however. According to one social worker who has helped to get several PUBG-playing boys out of jail, the bans aren’t really about PUBG at all, but are instead “a way for the state to remind people of its authority every once in a while. It’s a way to show you that if they want to put you in jail for playing a video game, well, they can.”

If this all sounds like a wild, isolated incident, think again. In April, the government of Nepal also banned PUBG citing similar rationale, and China forcibly transformed the game into a Communist propaganda device. Even Prince Harry of the U.K. recently stated that he believed Fortnite should be banned because he feels the game is “addictive.” Add to that the growing list of games that Sony has either censored or effectively banned from its PlayStation platform, and it should be clear that the broader issue is closer to home than you may think.

So if you don’t want gaming to be controlled by the power-mad or puritanical (or both), I suggest that you speak up when lawmakers or companies start moving in that direction, and of course you can always vote with your wallet.

Welcome to the new 90s” indeed.

Source: Asia One

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