Holi recklessness in Mumbai claims 2 more lives, threatens others

Mar 28, 2013, 07:22 IST | Naveen Nair

Every year, Holi comes and goes with its own breed of terror, leaving many ailing or injured

After some hooligans belted unsuspecting train commuters with gulal, pushing one to his death and injuring seven others as they lost grip and fell from the moving local, another person succumbed to his injuries. More mishaps and reckless acts landed others in hospitals, including students and women.

Falling off board
MiD DAY had reported on Tuesday (‘Holi-gan horror’) how eight people had fallen from a moving Central Railway (CR) train on Monday, after a yellow powder was flung at them. It hit their eyes, leading them to lose grip and fall off the local.

Srinivas mother
His mother holds up his photo

Until Tuesday morning, one person had died and seven others were reported injured in the incident. But the death toll rose by evening, as Srinivas Suntanul (21) succumbed to the grave injuries he had sustained to his head in the incident.

Srinivas relatives
Relatives gather at 21-year-old Srinivas Suntanul’s house to pay their last respects on Holi

A resident of Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Dharavi, Srinivas was travelling on the Dadar-Thane local train when the powder was thrown at him from a train passing on the adjacent track in the opposite direction.


Srinivas worked as a construction labourer, setting up bamboo structures at sites. His parents live at their native village Udumalagidda in Andhra Pradesh and have come down to the city to perform his last rites. He has four elder sisters, three elder brothers and one younger brother. Srinivas lived with his elder brother’s family and worked as a daily wager. His sister-in-law Sharda Suntanul (26) said, “He left for work around 9 am on the day of the incident. Usually he’d have breakfast but he skipped it on the day. 

We got information about him falling from the train around 9 pm on Monday, and around 6 pm on Tuesday, he was declared dead. Doctors though had told us he’d be out of danger in a couple of days.” She added, “He was supposed to get married this year. We were looking for a suitable girl for him. It is very unfortunate that he is no longer with us.”

Toxic spray
After a boy from their locality in Andheri squirted colour on them, 13 women were admitted to Holy Spirit Hospital with symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The colour, said the neighbours of the victims, had a strong foul odour which made the women queasy.


According to a hospital staff, these patients came complaining of difficulty in breathing after inhaling the odour from the toxic colour. “Four of the ladies who had severe breathing problems have been admitted to the ICU and the rest have been admitted to the general ward. We are monitoring their status.”

Fatal dip in sea
Holi revelries saw another fatality in the city. Shashikant Ganpat Bhalerao (54) lost his life after drowning in the sea near Worli Koliwada on Wednesday afternoon. He was brought to KEM Hospital, Parel soon after the incident where he was declared dead.

Shashikant Bhalerao’s grieving kin

A resident of Prateeksha Nagar in Sion, Bhalerao went to Worli Koliwada along with his neighbours to play Holi. “After the celebrations, he took a dip in the sea and drowned,” said his brother Vilas. Shashikant’s neighbour Deepak Pujari is unsure as to what made Shashikant dive into the sea.

A father of three sons, Shashikant was employed with the Maharshtra Water Board for the past 30 years. His family is in a state of shock. “He was a good human being. He didn’t have enmity with anybody. He was happy and content. There seems to be no reason apart from him drowning accidentally,” said his grieving mother Kaushalya Bhalerao.

Bike skids
Yogesh Gosavi (32) was drunk after celebrating Holi and was riding his bike near Sasmira, Worli. His bike skidded and he suffered minor head injuries. Bystanders rushed him to KEM Hospital for medical aid.

Bhang poisoning?
Holi bash turned into blight for some pupils of the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) at Matunga, when they reportedly downed bhang drinks. They were rushed to Sion Hospital after suffering bouts of vomiting and dizziness. While doctors suspected that the students, including two girls, were suffering from bhang poisoning, college authorities claimed they were just dehydrated.

According to sources, the two girls were discharged after they were provided treatment while the boys have been kept under observation. ICT warden Dr Uday Annapure said, “These students suffered from dehydration after celebrating Holi and we admitted them to Sion Hospital. They did not consume bhang during the celebration.”

“Their condition is reported to be stable,” said Dr Nivedita Moulick, acting dean of Sion Hospital. Experts say that unlike food poisoning, bhang poisoning is caused by substance abuse rather than adulteration of the substance. “The group of students had consumed bhang after a college function and had to be rushed to the hospital around 12 pm, following symptoms of nausea, restlessness and imbalance,” said Dr Moulick.

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