AHMEDABAD, India: Indian police have arrested 10 university students for playing PUBG, the hugely popular smartphone game described by one minister as a "demon in every house".
The arrests occurred Wednesday (Mar 13) in western Gujarat state, where local authorities enforced an outright ban on PUBG last week over concerns about its impact on the "behaviour, conduct and language" of those playing it.
"Due to these games, the education of children and youth are being affected and it affects the behaviour, manners, speech and development of the youth and children," an order by local police dated Mar 6, said.
The students were released on bail with a warning later the same day, police inspector VS Vanzara said Thursday.
Another police official, Rohit Raval, told the Indian Express newspaper the game was "highly addictive and the accused were so engrossed in playing" they did not even see police approaching.
PUBG or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, is free to download and is part of the hugely popular Battle Royale genre, where dozens of online players battle to the death.
Along with Fortnite and Apex Legends, the genre has developed a huge following with teenagers and older gamers. Police in Gujarat have not banned Fortnite.
Gujarat is the only Indian state to ban the game - which has been downloaded more than 100 million times around the world.
But concern has been raised in other parts of the country, where close to half a billion people are online and cheap smartphones and data plans are bringing more first-time users into the digital realm.
Parents and educators say the game incites violence and distracts students from their studies.
A minister in coastal Goa state described the PUBG as "a demon in every house".
Asked in a public debate in January about the negative effects of videogames on kids, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "Was he playing PUBG? Like everything else, technology too comes with its positives and negatives.
"As parents, we must guide our children to get the most from technology. We should encourage their curiosity to learn new things."