Madhya Pradesh mulls law to regulate online gambling after 11-year-old boy’s suicide

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A day after an 11-year-old boy said to be addicted to online gambling allegedly committed suicide in the state capital of Bajariya, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said the government was in the process of legislating to regulate online gambling.

“It is a very serious issue, these online gambling related suicides. To avoid such incidents, we are introducing a law regulating online gambling in Madhya Pradesh. A bill has been prepared and we will finalize it soon” , Mishra told reporters on Thursday.

On Wednesday afternoon, Suryansh Ojha, a Class V pupil of St Xavier’s School in Awadhpuri, was reportedly found hanged at his home in Shakacharya Nagar. Although immediately taken to hospital, the boy could not be saved.

Suryansh’s father, Yogesh Ojha, an optician, told police his son was addicted to an online game called Fire Fall. Additional Police Commissioner Sachin Atulkar said Suryansh would constantly play online games on cellphones. As online games interfered with her studies, her parents had the game removed from a phone. “However, Suryansh installed it on another cell phone without their knowledge and continued playing the game.” His parents had also learned that Suryansh had unknowingly taken around Rs 6,000 to buy the game’s add-on features, Atulkar said.

According to Suryansh’s cousin Ayush, they were on the second floor of his house watching a movie. A few minutes later, Ayush said, he left Suryansh alone and went downstairs. Ayush said when he returned to the terrace of the building with other children, they found Suryansh hanging from a rope used to hang punching bags.

Bajaria Police recorded one case of accidental death, but did not recover any suicide notes.

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