Mumbai’s selfie sanction
String of deaths linked to camera trend forces Indian capital to clamp down
A rise in selfie-related deaths has meant that Mumbai has brought a ban on ‘selfies’ in 16 zones across the city.
According to a US data company, India now has the highest number of people who've died while taking selfies and has 19 of the world's 49 recorded selfie-linked deaths since 2014.
The statistic may be partly due to India's size, with 1.25 billion citizens and one of the world's fastest-growing mobile phone markets.
A fine of 1,200 rupees will be the punishment if you stray into the ‘off-limits’ areas of Mumbai, even if you’re not taking photographs.
Earlier this month, an 18-year-old student fell into a reservoir and died after taking a selfie from a perilous position on the top of a rock. A classmate also drowned trying to save him.
India is not the only country to jump on board the ban. Around 100 people died in gruesome accidents and dozens were injured whilst striking high-risk poses in Russia last year, prompting Russian police to launch a campaign urging people to take safer selfies.
The leaflet, issued by the interior ministry of Russia warned: ‘A cool selfie could cost you your life,’ and tips such as ‘a selfie with a weapon kills’.
More people were killed in selfie-related injuries than by shark attacks last year.
After attempting to take a selfie at the Taj Mahal last year, a 66-year-old Japanese tourist died, and his travel companion was injured, after falling down stairs.
A Russian woman shot herself in the head by accident whilst posing for a selfie with a weapon last May.
In February, US investigators said a pilot caused a small plane to crash, killing both people on board, after he repeatedly took a series of selfie photos on board the aircraft.
Mumbai psychologist Keerti Sachdeva told Al Jazeera that she does not expect the constant pursuit of selfies to end any time soon. She said one probable reason is the need for acceptance and love.
“You know people have this sort of feeling in adolescent age, especially that they need to get this acceptance from everyone, that I am a smart person, I am a good-looking person,” she said.
“So for acceptance and recognition they are indulging in taking of selfies.”