Powder used by kids in Dharavi was toxic: Report | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Powder used by kids in Dharavi was toxic: Report

The powder with which more than 200 children played holi in Dharavi, leading to them being hospitalised, was infused with toxic chemicals.

mumbai Updated: Mar 23, 2012 01:23 IST
Mohamed Thaver

The powder with which more than 200 children played holi in Dharavi, leading to them being hospitalised, was infused with toxic chemicals. A report sent by the Maharashtra Forensic Library (FSL) to the Dharavi police on Thursday indicated that six chemicals were present in the powder, of which four were toxic.

Holi celebrations in the city had taken a tragic turn when more than 200 children from Dharavi and Nehru Nagar were hospitalised and a 13-year-old boy was killed after developing a reaction to the powder used.

The police had sent samples to the FSL from a demolished dye godown at Shahu Nagar — believed to be the source of the powder used — along with samples from the victims’ hand wash (water containing the washed-off colour), among other exhibits.

“Samples from both spots have presence of lead, chromium, nickel, copper, iron and manganese,” said an officer from the Dharavi police station.

Commenting on the toxicity of the chemicals, an official from the FSL said: “While iron and manganese become toxic only if present in large quantities, chemicals such as chromium, nickel and copper can be toxic if they come in direct contact with the skin.”

The FSL report further stated that while the dye sample from the godown was a basic one, the one found on the victims was acidic. However, this does not rule out the possibility that the godown was the source of the powder. “We will take an opinion on this,” said the officer.

In their statements, more than 50 children said they had procured the powder from the abandoned godown, confusing it for the synthetic colour used for Holi celebrations.

The Dharavi police had arrested owners of the dye godown Gafar Siddiqui ,42, and Mustaq Siddiqui , 39, along with Iyaz Sheikh ,37, Muharram Ali Siddique ,42, Mohammed Shafique ,35, and Mohammed Khalid Siddique ,37, who were working at the dye manufacturing godown before its demolition, in the case. If the police prove that the source of the powder was the godown, it will help them build a strong case against the accused.

DCP (zone 5) Dhananjay Kulkarni confirmed the contents of the report but refused to elaborate on it.

Meanwhile, the Nehru Nagar police are still awaiting a report from the FSL.