Solapur 14-year-old leaves home with mum's mobile phone and a bag at 6 am. Parents discover him missing an hour later and panic
Solapur 14-year-old leaves home with mum's mobile phone and a bag at 6 am. Parents discover him missing an hour later and panic

A Solapur teen, suspected to be playing the Blue Whale Challenge, was saved just in the nick of time. The 14-year-old, who was on his way to Pune allegedly for completing a task, was intercepted on board a Solapur-Pune ST bus due to timely action and smooth coordination between two district police officers.

They inform their neighbour, a police naik. With Solapur police's help, his location is traced and conductor of the ST bus the boy is in alerted
They inform their neighbour, a police naik. With Solapur police's help, his location is traced and conductor of the ST bus the boy is in alerted

On the trail
The incident happened on August 9. After the boy's parents didn't find him in his room in the morning, they panicked and immediately went to their neighbour, a police naik with the Solapur traffic division. Around 8 am, the youngster's location was traced to Sawaleshwar, on the Solapur-Pune highway by zeroing in on his mother's mobile phone that he was carrying. The family then went to the nearest ST stand and contacted the conductor who was on that bus, giving him the boy's description and telling him to not allow the teenager to get down anywhere.

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In-charge of a police station in a Pune-Solapur border town is told; he intercepts the bus, taking the boy in custody. Illustration/Ravi Jadhav
In-charge of a police station in a Pune-Solapur border town is told; he intercepts the bus, taking the boy in custody. Illustration/Ravi Jadhav

According to the police naik, Amol Yadav, Solapur city police control room was the first to be informed; personnel from there later coordinated with the Pune Rural control and in-charge of Bhigwan police station, on the border of Pune and Solapur.

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The in-charge, Nilkanth Rathod, told mid-day, "I received a call from Solapur control that a 14-year-old boy playing the Blue Whale game was headed in my direction… I rushed and intercepted the ST bus; around 10.30 am, the boy was taken into custody and the Vijapur Naka police station, which falls under Solapur city, was informed. Personnel from there then contacted his parents, who came to Bhigwan police station around 2 pm."

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Sources said when he was intercepted on the bus, his condition wasn't very good - silent and unaware of his surroundings. Later, his parents found a cutter, a blade and a rope in his bag.

Absent and tense
According to a family friend, the parents, both private firm employees, had noticed several changes in the behaviour of their son, a Std IX student, over the past 15 days. He didn't have a mobile phone and would use his mother's, saying he needed it for the alarm to get up in the morning.

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Sources said he hadn't been sleeping well since a week and hadn't gone to school for the past nine days. When his parents would ask him why he hadn't gone to school, he would say he wasn't feeling well, or give some other excuse. Active in sports, the boy hadn't gone for his daily practice at a cricket club for the past 15 days either.


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Blue Whale game suicides