Teen dead, 200 still in hospital after ‘colour’ poisoning

Mumbai, March 9 : A 13-year-old boy died and around 200 people, mostly children, continued to be in hospital following an allergic reaction from toxic colours on Holi, police here said Friday. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered a high-level probe into the incident.

Vikas Valmiki from Ghatkopar died late Thursday. He was rushed to hospital with severe symptoms of colour allergy but doctors could do little to save him, according to an official at the Dharavi police station.

Police and medical authorities have yet to identify the mystery blue colour that sparked panic and aborted Holi celebrations in the area Thursday afternoon.

Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar visited the victims in Sion Hospital Friday.

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Chavan has directed that the report be submitted within a fortnight. The probe panel will be headed by Medical Education Secretary I.S. Chahal, and will include Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) member Milind Mhaiskar, Food & Drugs Authority commissioner Mahesh Zagde, Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar and a high-ranking police official.


Holi took a tragic turn Thursday afternoon when scores of children, mainly from Dharavi slums, Sion, Ghatkopar and surrounding areas complained of giddiness, breathlessness, vomiting, burning eyes, dehydration, low oxygen levels and skin rashes after they had played with or unknowingly consumed tiny quantities of some unknown colour.

The condition of most them is reported to be stable, police said.

Preliminary investigations by the police have revealed that some poor slum kids reportedly discovered bags of blue colour lying unattended near a garbage dump in Dharavi.

Police and civic officials had issued warnings asking people to stay away from cheap and polluted Holi colours. (IANS)

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