Ban BGMI: NGO urges Central Government

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PRAHAR, a non-profit organisation working in the area of socio-economic development, has written to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and ministry of electronics and information technology (MEIT) to block the BGMI, the Indian version of the popular battle royale game PUBG under section 69A of the Information Technology Act, reported the Economic Times. PUBG which was originally published in India by Tencent was banned amid border clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies in 2020.

Krafton, the developer of the game relaunched it as BGMI in July 2021after incorporating a local company based in Bengaluru. Krafton partnered with Microsoft Azure to ensure personal data protection through the latter’s platform.

Also read: Asian Games months away, Govt says no national body recognised to train e-sports participants

The NGO said the game poses a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India and urged the government to add BGMI to the list of 54 Chinese apps banned on February 14, 2022, claiming that Krafton, a South Korean studio that publishes BGMI, is a front company of Tencent Holdings. The latest list of banned apps also features Free Fire Garena owned by a Singapore company with Tencent holding around 15% shareholding.

“Also, in today’s data centric world, maintaining technology integrity is extremely important to protect the sovereignty of India, security of the state and defence of India. We urge the Government to thoroughly investigate the antecedents and China influence of the BGMIPUBG app and take immediate action if found in violation,” the letter read according to reports.

Also read: Government aware of possible risks and harms associated with online games

Ban BGMI: Plea before Telangana High Court

The plea comes in at a time the Telangana High Court bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili is hearing a petition seeking permanent prohibition of BGMI in India. The MEIT has informed the Court that it has no pending request from any of the states to ban BGMI.

We congratulate the government on their decision to ban another 54 Chinese apps in India recently. This is in line with the ongoing demand from people of India to boycott all kinds of Chinese goods,” said Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convener, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM). SJM is affiliated with RSS, the parent organisation of the ruling BJP.

PUBG is one of the games listed in the medal category of Asian Games scheduled from September 10th to September 25th, 2022. The Games will be hosted in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. The list of titles announced in September includes the names of FIFA, Dota 2, and League of Legends.