Up­set Dahi Handi or­gan­is­ers can­cel events

Govin­das dis­ap­pointed as prac­tice goes in vain; politi­cians say they will abide by the court’s or­ders

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Fol­low­ing the Supreme Court or­der dis­al­low­ing over 20 feet high hu­man pyra­mids for Dahi Handi and also ban­ning mi­nors from tak­ing part in it, some ma­jor dahi handi or­gan­is­ers in the city have de­cided to can­cel their events.

The par­tic­i­pants too are up­set stat­ing that their prac­tice has gone in vain.

The fes­ti­val had been hit last year too fol­low­ing the death in San­pada of a boy Ki­ran Talekari who had been prac­tis­ing for the fes­ti­val. This had led to can­cel­la­tion of sev­eral dahi han­dis then. This year, the re­stric­tions set by the court have led to can­cel­la­tions.

Among those who have can­celled their event is for­mer deputy mayor and Congress leader Ra­makant Mha­tre. Mha­tre said, “We re­spect the court or­der. We have de­cided to can­cel our pro­gramme.”

Mha­tre said, “It is the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure as it failed to put up a strong case in the court. It is sad that Hindu cul­ture and tra­di­tions that have been fol­lowed for years are now be­ing re­stricted.”

NCP city pres­i­dent Anant Su­tar, whose Anant Pratishthan or­gan­ises the event, has this year de­cided not to cel­e­brate the fes­ti­val with the hu­man tiers.

Cor­po­ra­tor Namdeo Bha­gat of Lok­manya Ti­lak Sar­va­janik Ut­sav man­dal has stated that it will cel­e­brate the fes­ti­val in a tra­di­tional way in Nerul.

There have been sim­i­lar re­ports from sev­eral other man­dals.

Prakash Mha­tre, a govinda who has been prac­tis­ing for the fes­ti­val, said: “This is an oc­ca­sion where peo­ple come to­gether and cel­e­brate. It is sad that the fes­ti­val is los­ing its charm due to var­i­ous re­stric­tions.”

He added, “We had been prac­ti­cis­ing hard for a month now. We are hear­ing of can­cel­la­tions of sev­eral events. It would have been bet­ter had the court or­der come ear­lier. All this time of ours would not have been wasted in the prac­tice.”

There are also voices that have wel­comed the court de­ci­sion.

Mangesh Mane, a Nerul res­i­dent, said: “There is al­ways a lot of risk in­volved in the sev­eral tiers that are raised and it wors­ens with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the young kids. The court has acted rightly.”

He added, “Be­sides, the fes­ti­val has turned into a com­mer­cial event with peo­ple com­pet­ing with huge prize money, which were of­ten not given.”

Thane, which sees a grand celebration, ev­ery year will also see a toned-down af­fair.

NCP leader Ji­ten­dra Awhad, whose or­gan­i­sa­tion Sang­harsh usu­ally holds grand Dahi Handi cel­e­bra­tions had can­celled the event last year fol­low­ing the court’s or­der. “It is ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate that the celebration is marred with re­stric­tions. We will not or­gan­ise Dahi Handi this year as well,” Awhad said.

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