HONG KONG, (Reuters) – Fire-related injuries are a major cause of death in young women in India and many are a result of kitchen accidents, suicides and domestic violence, a study has shown.
Using data from urban hospitals and results from a survey covering rural populations, researchers estimated that there were about 163,000 fire-related deaths in India in 2001, which made up two percent of all deaths in the country.
In an article published in The Lancet, they said the figure was six times higher than that reported by Indian police.
Of these, 106,000 involved women, 57 percent of that number were women between the ages of 15 and 34.
The average ratio of fire-related deaths of young women to young men was 3:1.
“Such a high frequency of deaths in young women suggests that these deaths have common causes involving kitchen accidents, self-immolation, and different forms of domestic violence which may include dowry harassment that leads to death,” said the team of researchers led by Prachi Sanghavi of Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States.
A dowry death is the killing of a young woman by members of her husand’s family for bringing insufficient dowry and is commonly carried out by first dousing the woman with kerosene and then setting her alight, the researchers said.