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Will selfie-addicts in India learn a lesson from the Bandra tragedy? Mumbai’s ‘No-selfie zone’ move might be the answer

When actor Salman Khan sang “Chal beta selfie le-le re” in his latest hit movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan, little did he imagine the tragic repercussions of such a move. He was just reiterating the ongoing trend of youngsters clicking selfies at every occasion.

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Selfies have become a modern-day malady. A curious narcissistic psychotic disorder has emerged; people at their extremely narcissistic moment, throw all safety into the wind, and pose for a picture. Some daredevils, in a morbid attempt to show-off their tricks in a selfie, embrace death, while some unlucky ones meet accidents because they stare at the camera and fail the see the danger around!

On Saturday, a teenager and her two friends fell into the sea in Bandra, Mumbai while clicking selfies. A passerby, Ramesh Walanju, who heard the screams of the girls, jumped in and rescued two of them. But the brave heart lost his life when he tried to save the third girl. He and the hapless girl were washed away by the high tide. Walanju’s lifeless body was found two days later in a nearby creek.

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A coast guard helicopter conducts a search operation at the accident site in Bandra on Saturday

In a bid to curb any such mishap in the future, the Mumbai Police has identified 15 ‘dangerous selfie spots’ across the city. The city municipal corporation plans to put up signboards at tourists spots, asking people to refrain from taking selfies. But the violators will not be fined; they would rather be warned against the dangers.

The Mumbai Police’s step may seem ineffective, considering the fact that they won’t fine violators. But if we look at the number of selfie accidents that occurred in India last year, we won’t find the city’s “no-selfie zone” move redundant.

Globally, the selfie death toll rose to 19 in 2015. In India alone, there were reportedly four such accidents, where people lost their lives while clicking selfies. An incident, similar to the Mumbai mishap, occurred earlier this month in Manila, Philippines, where a 19-year-old girl fell from a high-rise building after taking selfies with her friends.

In January last year, three boys, aged between 20‑22, were mowed down by a moving train in Mathura, as they tried to capture a ‘daredevil selfie’. In March, seven young men drowned while taking selfies on Mangrul Lake near Nagpur. Their boat capsized as they stood up to pose.

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A couple of months later, an engineering student fell to his death while taking selfies with friends at Kolli Hills in Tamil Nadu. Unfortunately, the rock on which the cursed boy was standing, cracked and gave way, throwing him 60 feet down. An elderly Japanese tourist tumbled down the staircase at the Taj Mahal, while taking a selfie. The person succumbed to head injury. In November, two students drowned in the Narmada Canal after slipping down the bank while taking selfies.

These tragic occurrences reflect a very dangerous trend. Except the Japanese tourist, all those who died in the various accidents were young.  They were having fun with their friends, enjoying the moment, and by sheer bad luck, ‘slipped’ away from their lives. It has now become important that such accident-prone areas are marked around the country to prevent future accidents. Let’s hope other states in India will follow suit.

About the author

Rubi

Whether it’s women issues, politics or the paranormal, Rubi has an opinion on everything. Art and entertainment interest her, too. Hindu College alumni, she has written for The Hindustan Times and The Financial Express. Every now and then, she loves picking up her camera to capture life and its various shades.

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