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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 23 March: IRRESPONSIBLE celebrations of Holi have caused three lives in and around Kolkata, besides sending 15 persons to hospital.

The deaths and injuries are the result of five separate accidents that took place through the day. Police said, in all the cases, those travelling in the vehicles, including the drivers, were in an inebriated state. On top of that, the vehicles were moving at a reckless speed.

In the morning, a speeding private car at Sarat Chatterjee Road near Rabindra Sarovar hit three parked motorbikes and then hit a taxi that was passing by. The car then bumped onto a light post and came to a grinding halt. The taxi driver was injured in the accident; police arrested the car driver who was nabbed by local residents.

Next, an over-speeding freight van collided head-on with an auto rickshaw at Arabinda Sarani in Sovabazar. The collision was so intense that it left the front of the auto rickshaw in a mangled state. Four persons sustained critical injuries in the accident and are now admitted to R G Kar Medical College and Hospital.

Not very long after this, a speeding Tata van hit the road median near the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre at Salt Lake. Four persons travelling by the van sustained grievous hurt and were rushed to hospital by police.

Fourth accident took place at Kona in Howrah. A speeding car lost control and rammed into another car that was moving ahead. Seven persons from both the car were injured in the accident and are now admitted to different hospitals in Howrah.

Fifth accident took place early in the afternoon near Prinsep Ghat at Strand Road. Three youths were moving at a reckless speed on a motorbike from Howrah end without wearing helmets. The bike rammed into a road side tree near Prinsep Ghat, and the three youths were flung into the air before smashing down on the road.

Police and some friends of the youths who were on other motorbikes, took them to SSKM Hospital in grievously injured state. Two of them died on the way to the hospital; the third one died a few minutes later at SSKM.

Alleging that the death was caused by delay in treatment, kin of the deceased youth resorted to vandalism at SSKM Hospital later in the afternoon. They attacked police when the men in uniform tried to dissuade them. Police had to carry out a lathi-charge and later arrested five of the kin for the vandalism.

The day was also marked by a clash between two groups of Holi revellers at Dhobi Ghat area in Maniktala in north Kolkata. A large posse of police had to rush in to contain the violence that left five injured. Police arrested seven youths for the clash.

This apart, Kolkata Police today arrested 261 persons from different areas within the city limits for reckless Holi celebrations, including over-speeding on motorbikes to drunk driving. Police have also confiscated 254 motorbikes.