Dahi handi revellers risk life, limb and contempt of Supreme Court Mehbooba storms out of press meet with Rajnath
BRAZEN Pyramids exceed 20ft, children as young as 8 participate in celebrations in Mumbai, Thane
Dahi handi revellers in Mumbai and Thane flouted the Supreme Court’s order in myriad ways while celebrating Janmashtami on Thursday. At several places, govindas formed human pyramids well over 20 feet high, children as young as eight participated in their formation, and revelers shunned basic safety equipment such as harnesses, helmets and cushioned mats.
Ahead of the festival, the Supreme Court had said that human pyramids for dahi handi must not exceed 20 feet in height, children under 18 should not participate in their formation, and mandals must procure safety gear for their govindas.
However, the court’s order was flouted at several places, including Chembur, Dadar, Parel, Lalbaug and Naupada junction in Thane.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Shiv Sena led the way in flouting the court order.
In Thane, the police filed a case against Avinash Jadhav of the MNS, who sported a t-shirt emblazoned with the message ‘I will break the law” in Marathi. Jadhav was charged with wilfully disobeying an order by a public servant – in this case the police.
While the Thane police took immediate action against violators, booking over 100 people from 16 mandals for violating the court’s orders, the police in Mumbai took a more passive approach.
Apart from Chembur, where a case was registered against seven mandals, the police simply recorded videos, noted noise levels and issued notices to various mandals. More action, based on the videos and noise-level recordings – is expected in the next few days.
Shaji Umap, deputy commissioner of police, zone 6, said, “We are registering cases against seven mandals at Chembur police station for violating restrictions on height of human pyramids the age of govindas.”
Celebrations organised by the MNS at Naupada junction in Thane involved a dahi handi 49 feet above ground, where govindas formed a nine-tier pyramid over 40 feet high. This pyramid at Chembur has seven tiers, which is a lot taller than 20 ft, and the person right at the top looks a lot younger than 18.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti walked out of a press conference with Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday even as the Centre promised an alternative to pellet guns that have left thousands of people with eye injuries in the Valley.
Singh’s announcement on a substitute for pellet gun soon and willingness for talks with “anybody” to end the wave of violence in Kashmir capped his two-day visit to the Valley where violent protests after the killing of a militant commander has left at least 68 people dead.
However, the government’s outreach was overshadowed by Mehbooba leaving the joint press conference in a huff after Home minister Rajnath Singh and J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti address a press meet in Srinagar.
reporters repeatedly questioned her handling of the situation and compared her stand during a similar violent phase in 2010.