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When Narcissism Kills: ‘Selfie Deaths’ on the Rise in India

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An infatuation with selfies has sparked a drastic increase in smartphone sales in India. It also has marked a spike in “selfie deaths” resulting from people taking dangerous photos, including with deadly animals or in the process of committing reckless acts.

In May, 15-year-old Ramandeep Singh died in Punjab after shooting himself with his father’s 32-calibre pistol while taking a selfie. In July, an unnamed 16-year-old died in the city of Chennai while trying to take a picture in front of an oncoming train. A railway police officer called it "a freak accident." 

Sanjay Srivastava, a sociology professor in New Delhi, told Deutsche Welle that "There is a craze about selfies in India. The young people want to impress others, and they don't even care about the dangers. They want to be seen as daring."

Mumbai, India’s largest city, introduced "selfie free zones" in January after a woman drowned trying to take a selfie in the sea and another woman drowned trying to save her. Authorities in the city identified 16 dangerous selfie destinations, including the Marine Drive promenade and a beach.

There have been injuries and selfie deaths reported in other parts of the world as well. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming issues a warning to visitors not to take selfies with wild animals, after five people were gored by bison. A man was also gored to death in Villaseca de la Sagra, Spain, last year while trying to take a selfie during the running of the bulls. In 2014 17-year-old Xenia Ignatyeva fell 30 feet from a bridge in St. Petersburg and was electrocuted grabbing a high-voltage cable.

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Tags:
Accidental Shooting, Selfie, India
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