There is little point in shouting about a waterless Holi and a more eco-friendly celebration if one is to read about persons losing their lives and limbs once again because some criminals decided to mark the festival in a selfish, brutal and murderous way. Two persons have lost their lives already because of colour thrown at them while travelling by train. There are several others injured.

This is the most heinous way to derive sick pleasure from a supposedly joyous occasion. The surprise and shock element works when one throws something at commuters travelling precariously in crowded compartments of local trains. Whether it is a stone, water balloon or colour, it startles commuters in many cases, causes them to lose their balance and fall off the train, resulting in death or grievous injury.

It is a shame that people do not learn even after so many campaigns and awareness drives telling them to play Holi safely and responsibly. Social media sites were active prior to the festival, with several pages and Twitter too, being used to stress an eco-friendly, waterless and injury-free festival.

It was sickening then, to see that this accident occurred just before Holi, as commuters were travelling in a Thane-bound train. Initial reports stated that some miscreants from the adjacent track threw a kind of powder on commuters that caused them to lose their balance and fall off from the compartment.

If education and awareness is of little help, the solution is deterrence by strict action. Let us also not soft-pedal by calling people who kill or maim in the name of Holi ‘revellers’ or ‘mischievous elements’. They are criminals and killers, pure and simple, and should be treated as such.

Two persons have lost their lives because of this action. A pall of gloom has descended on families and friends of loved ones. Justice can only be done when those responsible pay for a reprehensible act which one cannot brush away lightly.