Two youngsters drowned in the Narmada in Madhya Pradesh while trying to take a selfie, police said on Monday, adding to a growing number of similar incidents in a country which accounted for half of the world’s selfie deaths last year.
The two – identified as cousins Amit (20) and Kamal (25) – drowned in the river on Sunday at Omkareshwar, about 270 km from Bhopal, during a picnic.
Police said that Kamal had slipped into the river while trying to take a selfie, a recently coined term used to define people trying to take their own photograph with a mobile phone.
Amit jumped into the river to save his cousin but both were swept away by the strong currents of the river. Their bodies were recovered by divers at a distance away from the spot of their drowning, police added.
The death of the youngsters came just days after a man and a girl drowned in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai; the man was trying to saving the girl who had slipped into the sea while trying to take a selfie.
Following the incident, Mumbai police banned selfies in 16 spots which were identified as dangerous.
This was not the first selfie death incident in Madhya Pradesh.
On December 6, 2015, an 18-year-old youth, Jayesh, died after being hit by a train while he was trying to take a selfie on the tracks.
Earlier, 20-year-old Surya Pratap Singh Rajput – the grandson of former MLA Govind Singh Rajput – was killed when he accidentally pulled the trigger of a gun while attempting to take a selfie with it.
Raising an alarm over the issue, a recent report on such deaths around the world and published in the Washington Post, said that out of at least 27 “selfie-related” deaths around the world last year, about half occurred in India.
A Japanese tourist had also died at the Taj Mahal recently after falling off the steps of the monument while attempting a selfie.
Speaking to Hindustan Times on the issue, experts said that selfies have become an attention seeking activity for the youths.
“The youngsters, specially between the age of 18-22 years, are increasingly trying to find their self-esteem and self-worth in the likes and comments they get on their selfies posted on various social media platforms,” said Dr Vaibhav Dubey, psychiatrist at the People’s Hospital in Bhopal.
He added that this craze “gradually turns into a mental disorder and in extreme cases, pushes them to their death”.