A 24-year-old man allegedly committed suicide in an Odisha village, and his parents suspect the online game of ‘Momo challenge’, which he was “addicted” to, might have driven him to take the extreme step. Following a complaint lodged by the deceased’s father, the local Mahanga police have swung into action to ascertain the exact cause of Umakant Behera’s death.

Umakant’s body was found hanging inside an under-construction community youth club in Umaragaon village int he early hours of Wednesday.

The body was sent for post-mortem and a case of unnatural death was registered in this connection, said Inspector Jugal Kishore Das of Mahanga police station.

READ | Odisha Police issues advisory on deadly ‘Momo Challenge’ game

The Momo challenge angle surfaced after Umakant’s father Alekh Chandra Behera pointed to his son’s addiction to the deadly online game, said Superintendent of Police (Rural) Madhav Charan Sahoo.

The FIR claimed that the victim had downloaded the Momo Challenge app on his mobile phone. Umakant was a skilled labourer employed with a private company in Chennai. However, he had returned home a few months ago. As per the complaint, Umakant had developed absentmindedness of late and would be in a disturbed state of mind, SP Sahoo said quoting the the FIR.

Read | Engineering student commits suicide, was playing ‘Momo Challenge’

The smartphone set owned by the victim has been seized and sent to the state forensic laboratory to expedite the probe, he said.

Stating that it’s too early to jump to conclusion that Umakant had fallen prey to the Momo challenge online game, the police said cyber crime cell and forensic personnel were thoroughly examining this.

Earlier, Chetan Kumar, a third year computer science student at a private engineering college at Bhubaneswar, allegedly killed himself by jumping from the sixth floor of a hospital in Chennai. allegedly killed himself by jumping from the sixth floor of a hospital in Chennai.

READ | After two deaths, Bengal grapples with suicide game ‘Momo Challenge’

Chetan’s father S Srinivas Rao works with the Indian Railways and is posted in Rourkela. The Chennai police told the family that Chetan’s mobile phone was connected to a laptop and it was found that he was playing the last stage of ‘Momo Challenge’.

The Odisha Police have issued an advisory to parents and teachers to guard children against the deadly ‘Momo Challenge’ game. The crime branch advisory issued last week urged them to monitor their children’s online and social media activity, and if need be, install a cyber or mobile parenting software.

The police departments of other states have also issued similar advisories.

Also Read | Not all momos are meant to be consumed, Mumbai Police’s creative warning against fatal game

What is Momo challenge?

It’s a new horrifying online game which is proving to be deadly for children and teens. The challenge reportedly started on Facebook and it asks people to chat with strangers via an unknown number on WhatsApp. The user then is told to perform a series of extreme and dangerous tasks that are allegedly violent and may end up in suicides. They are also exposed to the threat of their online accounts being hacked. Many believe it is a bait used by the criminals in order to steal data and extort people on the internet.