The alarming alcohol addiction of Kerala has claimed an eight-year old boy. A class five student, Lejin, a native of Kunnikode in Kollam district, died in the wee hours of Monday following excess consumption of Bacardi Gold rum when his parents and brother were not at home.
On Sunday afternoon Lejin was alone at home as his mother Susan and brother Lebin were away to attend a funeral, and his father Laaji had gone to his sister’s house. Little Lejin was, perhaps, waiting for this opportunity to consume the liquor. He had seen his father and his friends drink at home in his presence.
When his parents and brother returned around six in the evening, they found the unconscious Lejin lying on his bed, bathed in vomit and urine. The TV, which had been playing when they had left, was still on. From the smell, they realised what had happened. Immediately, they washed and rushed him to a nearby private hospital.
Dr Firoz, who treated the boy, told dna that Lejin had been brought in an unconscious state and he regained normalcy half an hour after the drugs were administered intravenously. The boy was alright till mid-night. He went to the loo without help. But his condition deteriorated suddenly and he breathed his last around one O clock in the morning.
“I had told his parents to take him to a bigger hospital as large quantity of liquor plays tricks on children, but since he was found to be normal they did not heed my advice. I don’t know what went wrong,’’ the doctor said.
Dr Firoz said that Lejin had told him that he had drunk liquor which his father kept at home. “He must have taken about 300 to 400 ml of the stuff. He didn’t tell me whether he had taken it dry or diluted. Children don’t withstand such huge quantities of alcohol,’’ Firoz added.
Sub inspector Vijoy who is investigating the case told dna that the forensic surgeon who conducted the postmortem examination informed him that the boy died of brain inflammation caused by excess consumption of alcohol. The surgeon also confirmed that the boy must have taken nearly 400 ml of the stuff.
“We could not collect any evidence from the scene because the room where the boy had been found unconscious was washed on the presumption that there won’t be any police case.’’ Vijoy said.
“I quit drinking and smoking six months back. This bottle of alcohol was given by a friend of mine working in the Gulf. Since I stopped drinking, my friends were consuming it when they dropped in at my place. I did not know that the boy was keenly watching it,” Laaji, who is a petty floor tiling contractor, said in a choked voice.
Kerala, which consumed liquor worth Rs8,842 core in 2012-13 fiscal (Rs7,860 in the previous year), shows the symptoms of an acute alcoholic society. Various studies have warned the authorities that drinking habit is rampant even among school kids. The alcohol-related crimes, family feuds and ailments are on the rise in the state, which is the largest guzzler among all Indian states. But the government is very reluctant to regulate the liquor flow as it is the main revenue of the exchequer.