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CRPF bans troops from playing PUBG, citing addiction and isolation

The Central Reserve Police Force has instructed commanding officers to enforce a ban on troops playing PUBG on their mobile phones following an internal survey that showed the jawans were getting addicted to the online gaming app, reports The Telegraph. The report cites senior CRPF officials as saying that the addiction to the game affected the jawans’ capabilities, and led to isolation and sleep deprivation. A circular issued by the CRPF’s Bihar unit says the game is affecting jawans’ “ops performance, aggressive and attitudinal issues”. It instructs inspectors to ensure that the game is deleted from all phones. Random checks will be carried out to ensure deletion. The internal survey reportedly showed that jawans had become socially inactive, and that the game led to behavioural changes.

Banned in several areas in Gujarat

PUBG has been banned in several districts of Gujarat – Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath and Panchmahal. The ban in Ahmedabad was imposed for ongoing exams and lifted without intention to renew the order. It’s unclear if the ban has been lifted in the districts. The ban was first issued in Rajkot on March 8th, and was applicable from March 9th to April 30th. In January, the Gujarat government banned PUBG in all state schools, stating that children were getting addicted and their education was being adversely affected.

In March, Gujarat police arrested eight people in Ahmedabad and Himmatnagar areas. The Rajkot police had also arrested 10 people for playing the game, and booked them for violating a government order. The Rajkot city police has also included, in its PUBG ban order, a prohibitory order under Section 144 of the CrPC, which disallows assembly of more than four people in an area.

And the Gujarat HC refused to admit a petition against the ban

The Gujarat High Court shot down a PIL filed by the Internet Freedom Foundation against the ban, stating that the petition’s cope did not fall under public interest. Meanwhile, in a separate PIL in the Bombay High Court asking for the ban, the court had directed MeitY to assess and review the game and take action if any “objectionable content” was found.

It’s worth noting that the Nepal government has banned PUBG as well, and took the ban in Indian states into account while imposing its own ban. The Supreme Court of Nepal within days shot down the ban, stating that the game was simply used by the general public for entertainment, and allowing the ban to continue would adversely impact people’s right to freedom.

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