Last-rites candle burns kill woman
A 64-year-old woman died of burn injuries on Sunday, days after her apparel had caught fire from a candle while performing the last rites of her husband.
This was the fourth reported case in Calcutta in three months of an elderly woman dying of burns suffered while performing puja or cooking.
Sipra Mitra, 64, a resident of P Naskar Lane, had suffered burns on December 23 while performing the last rites of her husband, Jyotirmoy Mitra, at Adi Shanti Sangha Club on Dr GS Bose Road.
Police said Mitra did not realise that her sari had caught fire from a candle. In no time did the flames engulf the lower part of her torso as she was sitting on the ground. She was taken to a hospital on BB Chatterjee Road, where she died on Sunday.
The woman’s body was sent for post-mortem and later handed over to her brother, Samarjit Roy. No complaint has been lodged.
Senior officers described the trend of elderly women suffering fatal burns as alarming. “It appears that people have stopped taking basic precautions while lighting a match or handling a source of fire. Loose clothes, silk or synthetic apparels should be strictly avoided when someone works near fire. They easily catch fire,” said a senior fire department official.
“Elderly people, who may take a little more time to react, should be extra cautious,” the officer added.
In October, Dola Mitra, 63, had died of burns after her silk sari caught fire while she was performing Lakshmi Puja at her home. Another elderly woman — Chaya Nag, 74 — who had gone to her daughter’s place, had suffered from fatal burn injuries while cooking at their Radha Madhab Dutta Garden Lane home in Beleghata in December 2020. An LPG cylinder leak was suspected to have triggered the fire.
Four days after the death of Nag, 60-year-old Manjula Dutta, a resident of Bosepukur Prantik Pally in Kasba, died of burn injuries after her apparel caught fire while lighting the lamp during the morning puja rituals at her home.