The traditional Hindu festival of Holi, known as the Festival of Colors, turned dark in Mumbai on Thursday, as at least 200 people were hospitalized from color poisoning, the Times of India reported.
The poisonings occurred in the Shastrinagar area of Dharavi Thursday afternoon, as Holi celebrations were in full swing, and those hospitalized include several children as young as 9 or 10, the Hindustan Times reported.
The holiday, which marks the beginning of spring, is celebrated by people throwing scented perfume and colored powders at each other as a loosening of usual social norms. It also has roots in many Hindu legends associated with the triumph of good over evil, the Boston Globe reported.
One of the best-known tales related to Holi is that of the demoness Holika trying to murder Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, after he refuses to worship his father. Instead, Holika is consumed in flames, which is marked during Holi celebrations with bonfires and effigies.
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Over 195 revelers were admitted to Sion Hospital and another 12 to Rajawadi Hospital after they complained of giddiness, a burning sensation on their skin, nausea and vomiting caused by contact with the colored powder, the Times of India reported.
Some cases were serious on admission but are now stable after treatment, a hospital source told the Hindustan Times.
The police suspect the toxic substance may have come from a Dharavi dumping ground, where the area's leather tanners throw harmful run-off chemicals and water, the Times of India reported.
The state has set up an inquiry into the incidents.
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