Indian woman killed by 'celebratory gunshots' at wedding party

image copyrightCourtesy: Hindustan Times
image captionMs Arora was 22 years old

Indian police have arrested a man who allegedly shot dead his neighbour by mistake at a pre-wedding party.

Ashok Khosla fired shots into the air on Saturday to celebrate his daughter's upcoming wedding, police say.

Neighbour Sakshi Arora, 22, was on her terrace when a bullet hit her in the forehead, killing her on the spot, Punjab police told the BBC.

Several people have been killed by "celebratory gunfire" at weddings in northern India in recent years.

Police have arrested Mr Khosla, the father of the bride, and say the bullet came from his revolver during the party in Punjab's Hoshiarpur.

They have also lodged a case against his friend Ashok Sethi, who allegedly fired a rifle.

"The accused were not professional shooters and they should have known it [the bullet] can hit anyone," a police spokesman said

This is not the first time someone has been killed accidentally in so-called "celebratory firings" during weddings in Indian states such as Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

While several such incidents occur each year, it is unclear how many people have been killed or injured because of them.

image copyrightManoj Dhaka
image captionSadhvi Deva Thakur (left) allegedly fired celebratory shots at a wedding in November 2016, killing one guest

In November 2016, one wedding guest died and three others were critically injured when a woman started shooting while she was on the dance floor.

In December 2016, a 25-year-old dancer was allegedly shot dead by a drunk man while she was performing at a wedding. Several guests were reportedly firing into the air that evening.

In November 2017, an eight-year-old boy was killed by alleged celebratory shots at a wedding function.

Celebratory gunfire - a show of machismo and status - is not confined to India. It's also common in Afghanistan and parts of the Middle East, Balkans and elsewhere.

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