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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 88-91

Spectrum of unnatural female deaths in Manipur: A postmortem study


1 Department of Forensic Medicine, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, Manipur, India
2 Department of Forensic Medicine, JN Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, Manipur, India

Date of Web Publication20-Aug-2015

Correspondence Address:
Thounaojam Meera
Department of Forensic Medicine, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, Manipur - 795 004
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4958.163197

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  Abstract 

Background: Unnatural deaths may be caused by unintentional or intentional injuries. Unintentional injuries are mainly accidental, while intentional injuries may be suicidal or homicidal. Female deaths due to unnatural causes, especially in the first few years of their married life, have been observed in Indian society for the last few decades. Materials and Methods: This retrospective study was conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital during the period of 10 years from January 2004 to December 2013, to assess the pattern of unnatural female deaths in the state of Manipur. A thorough analysis of the history and postmortem findings was carried out, and the findings were statistically analyzed. Results: Out of the total of 4313 cases brought for autopsy, 320 cases (7.42%) were of unnatural female deaths. The year 2004 recorded the highest number of female deaths, and the number of cases declined in the following years. The maximum number of victims was observed in the age group of 21-40 years (36.3%); the majority of the victims were married (70.3%). Road traffic accident victims constituted 68.4% of the cases, while 13.1% were victims of firearm injuries and bomb blasts. Most of the cases were accidental deaths (72.5%), while 23.75% were homicidal in nature. Conclusion: The scenario of unnatural deaths among females in Manipur is different from those of the other parts of the country. Female deaths because of unnatural causes are mostly due to road traffic accidents.

Keywords: Assault, burn, female, road traffic accident, unnatural deaths


How to cite this article:
Meera T, Nandeibam P, Fimate L, Maring SK, Sangma M. Spectrum of unnatural female deaths in Manipur: A postmortem study. J Med Soc 2015;29:88-91

How to cite this URL:
Meera T, Nandeibam P, Fimate L, Maring SK, Sangma M. Spectrum of unnatural female deaths in Manipur: A postmortem study. J Med Soc [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Oct 20];29:88-91. Available from: https://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2015/29/2/88/163197


  Introduction Top


All across the world, a substantial number of deaths occur due to unnatural causes. There are several causes of unnatural deaths, and these deaths may be the result of unintentional or intentional injuries. According to the National Crime Reports Bureau (NCRB) 2013 report, 5.7 lakh people died of unnatural reasons such as murder, natural disaster, accident, and suicide in India. There has been a steady increase in the number of road traffic accidents, while accidental burns, poisoning, drowning, electrocution, and fall from heights are also on the rise. [1] On the other hand, there has been an increase in violence and crime against females in India in recent times. Female deaths due to unnatural causes, especially in the first few years of their married life, have been observed in Indian society for the last few decades. [2] This study has been carried out with an aim to assess the pattern of female deaths and the various factors associated with such deaths in a northeastern state like Manipur.


  Materials and methods Top


A retrospective study was conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital during the period of 10 years from January 2004 to December 2013 on the all cases of female deaths brought for autopsy. The aim was to assess the pattern of unnatural female deaths due to injuries in the state of Manipur. A thorough analysis of the history and postmortem findings was carried out. The year-wise incidence of unnatural female deaths, age, and marital status of the victims; the causative agent viz. blunt force as in road traffic accident, assault, sharp weapon, firearm or bomb blast; and nature of death viz. homicidal, suicidal, or accidental; and body parts injured in homicide cases were all studied; the findings were statistically analyzed.


  Results Top


Out of the total of 4313 cases brought for autopsy, 320 cases (7.42%) were cases of unnatural female deaths, as shown in [Figure 1]. It is evident from [Table 1] that the year 2004 recorded the highest number of female deaths and that the number of cases declined in the following years. The maximum number of victims was observed in the age group of 21-40 years (36.3%), as shown in [Figure 2]. The majority of the victims (70.3%) were married [Figure 3]. With respect to causes of death, 68.4% of the cases died in road traffic accidents and 13.1% were victims of firearm injuries and bomb blasts [Figure 4]. Burn victims accounted for only 8.1%. Most of the cases were accidental deaths (72.5%) and 23.75% were homicidal in nature [Figure 5]. As shown in [Table 2], in homicidal deaths the head and neck region was the target in 13.44% of the cases. Out of these cases, 44.19% of the cases were victims of firearm and blast injuries, and 32.56% of assault by blunt force [Table 2].
Figure 1: No. of female victims during 2004 to 2013

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Figure 2: Agewise incidence of female victims

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Figure 3: Marital status of the victims

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Figure 4: Causative agents

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Figure 5: Nature of deaths

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Table 1: Showing year-wise distribution of female deaths

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Table 2: Showing the types and distribution of injuries in homicides

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  Discussion Top


In a study in Gujarat by Pathak and Sharma [3] it was observed that the incidence of female deaths was on the rise and that female unnatural death victims accounted for 28.03% of the cases in the year 2008. However, in our study, in the entire study period only 7.42% of the cases were constituted by unnatural female death cases, and the year 2004 recorded the highest number of female deaths. Interestingly, the number of cases declined in the following years. The majority of the victims were married (70.3%) and belonged to the age group of 21-40 years in the present study. This may be favorably compared with the findings of several other workers; [4],[5],[6] however, these unnatural deaths among younger victims in their studies were attributed to dowry demands as well as kitchen accidents. Interestingly, in contrast to their findings, in our study 68.1% of the cases were victims of road traffic accidents and 13.1% were firearm injury and bomb blast victims. In another study by Dere and Rajoo, [7] it was observed that 50% of the female victims died due to burn injuries and 16.45% died because of vehicular accidents. However, in our study, burn victims constituted only 8.1% of the cases and this could be attributed to nonexistence of a dowry system, which is the root cause of bride burning in other parts of the country. [8],[9] In a study by Pathak and Sharma, [3] 29.37% of the female deaths were found to be suicidal in nature, while only 5.21% were homicidal cases. The nature of death was accidental in 63.22%, while 24.83% and 3.88% were suicidal and homicidal cases respectively, in a study by Dere and Rajoo. [7] In the present study, the nature of death was homicidal in 23.75%, which could be explained by the comparatively higher number of firearm and blast injuries.

The head is observed to be the target of choice in the great majority of assaults involving blunt trauma. [10] In a study by Patowary, [11] the chest was the most common target irrespective of the motive of the killing: 54.6% of the cases died due to bullet injury in their chest, followed by the head and neck for 33.3% of the total cases. In our study, the head and neck region was the target in 13.44% of these female victims, and 44.19% of the cases with head and neck injuries were victims of firearm and blast injuries.


  Conclusion Top


The scenario of unnatural deaths among females in Manipur is different from those of the other parts of the country where dowry-related bride burning is the commonest cause of death in young females. In this part of the country, female deaths because of unnatural causes are mostly due to road traffic accidents, and such deaths may be attributed to the improper road traffic system and lack of traffic sense among the general public.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Santhosh CS, Vishwanathan KG, SatishBabu BS. Pattern of unnatural deaths - a cross sectional study of autopsies at mortuary of KLES′s Hospital and MRC, Belgaum. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2011;33:18-20.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Tapse SP, Shetty VB, Jinturkar AD. Medico-legal study of suspicious death in newly married females in Bidar, Karnataka. Ind J For Med Toxicol 2012;6:130-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Pathak A, Sharma S. The study of un-natural female deaths in Vadodara city. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2010;32:220-3.   Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Srivasatava AK, Arora P. Suspicious deaths in newly married females - A medicolegal analysis. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2007;29:62-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Kulsherstha P, Sharma RK, Dogra TD. The study of sociological and demographical variables of unnatural deaths among women in South Delhi within seven years of marriage. J Punjab Acad Forensic Med Toxicol 2002;2:7-17.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Sharma BR, Harish D, Sharma A, Sharma S. Accidental burns in Indian kitchen; are they really accidents. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2006;28:14-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Dere R, Rajoo KM. Study of unnatural deaths in females-a medicolegal study at rural medical college, Loni. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2011;33:211-3.   Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Shinde AB, Keoliya AN. Socio-demographic characteristics of burn deaths in rural India. Int Jour of Health Care Biomed Research 2013;1:227-33.   Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Vaghela PC, Ahir GN, Patel MH. Epidemiology of fatal burn cases in GK General Hospital, Bhuj. Nat J Com Med 2012;3:326-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Adelson L. The Pathology of homicide. Charles C Thomas; Illinois: Spring Field; 1974.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Patowary AJ. Study of pattern of injuries in homicidal firearm injury cases. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2005;27:92-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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[Pubmed] | [DOI]



 

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