Pune: PRAHAR, a non-profit organisation working in the area of socioeconomic development, has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to block the Chinese app Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) under section 69A of the Information Technology Act, as it poses a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, and public order. BGMI is published by South Korean studio Krafton in India, and is an Indian version of its popular battle royale game, PlayersUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) which had been banned in India as part of the ban on Chinese apps in 2020.

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 BGMI-PUBG app and take immediate action if found in violation,” said Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convener, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch.

In the letter, Prahar said that Chinese internet major Tencent has a 15% stake in Krafton, which is no different from the recent ban on another popular game Free Fire where Tencent has a 18% stake.

“In the so-called new avatar, the BGMI-PUBG is no different from erstwhile PUBG with Tencent still controlling it in the background,” said Abhay Mishra, president, Prahar. Two weeks ago, the Indian government had banned another set of 54 Chinese apps including popular game Free Fire.

The letter said, “On paper, Tencent is the second largest shareholder of Krafton with 15.5% stocks. However, it is said that Tencent holds additional interests in promoter’s various businesses, through private deals hidden from the public, giving them extraordinary control on Krafton….. Free Fire was another gaming app that was banned on 14 February. Since Tencent also holds 18.7%. share in Free Fire, it raises a basic question: if Free Fire was banned, why was BGMI PUBG exempted?”

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