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Maharashtra 'dahi-handi' festival low key due to floods; 119 injured

Most Of The Govindas Were Injured As Their Human Pyramids, To Break The 'dahi-handi' Or Curd Pitcher, Fell, A BMC Official Said.

PTI | Updated on: 25 Aug 2019, 12:46:05 AM
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At least 119 Govindas were injured in Mumbai and 14 in neighbouring Thane on Saturday during dahi-handi celebrations, officials said, even as the events to mark the birth of Lord Krishna remained low key in several areas. Most of the Govindas were injured as their human pyramids, to break the 'dahi-handi' or curd pitcher, fell, a BMC official said.

The celebrations remained low key in many areas.

Several dahi-handi organisers expressed solidarity with the people affected by devastating floods in the state and some mandals decided to donate money for relief work. A civic official said 26 revellers were admitted to civic-run hospitals across Mumbai while the rest were discharged after primary treatment.

In Thane, a 10-year-old boy's leg was fractured after he fell from the second rung of a pyramid and was undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital, a civic official said.

In another incident in Thane, a teenage girl, enjoying the celebrations, was injured after a pyramid collapsed and people fell on her, the official added.

The dahi-handi ritual is part of the Janmashtami festival in Maharashtra, where youngsters (called Govindas), dressed in colourful attire, make human pyramids to reach an earthen pot containing buttermilk suspended in mid-air, and break it.

Gorakhnath Mahila Dahi Handi Pathak Mandal, an organisation of women Govindas, celebrated the festival to "keep our tradition" alive.

"We celebrated the dahi-handi festival, but not with the usual fervour. We celebrate it just to keep our tradition on. We cannot forget the hardships our brothers and sisters are facing in parts of state due to floods," Bhau Koregaonkar, the founder of the mandal, said.

BJP leader Ram Kadam, who is known for holding grand dahi-handi events, also decided to celebrate the festival without any glitter.

"We celebrated this festival as part of our culture, but it will be done in a simple manner. There is no need to splurge money and the saved money will be sent to help the flood-hit brothers and sisters of the state," he said before the festival started.

The Mumbai Police had asked people to not play loud music.

"Mach Gaya Shor Saari Nagari, Within Permitted Decibels Only," it tweeted.

Celebrations were held in Dadar, Worli, Wadala, Ghatkopar, Andheri, Lokhandawala, Borivali, Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Mulund and Vile Parle.

The Radha Gopinath temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) at Girgaum was decked up as devotees waited in ques to offer prayers.

ISKCON spiritual leader Radhanath Swami said Lord Krishna's teachings have been relevant for centuries.

BMC's disaster management cell was on alert to deal with any eventuality, while hospitals were asked to keep medical staff on standby.

In Dombivali in Thane district, police seized a 'dahi-handi' depicting an Electronic Voting Machine, allegedly put up by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers.

The Raj Thackeray-led party has been demanding that upcoming state elections be held through ballot papers. MNS activists wore black T-shirts and shouted slogans against the Modi government.

The Police and the activists clashed when the 'EVM dahi-handi' was seized.

Floods ravaged several areas of western Maharashtra and Konkan region earlier this month, with Kolhapur and Sangli districts bearing the maximum brunt.

Fifty-eight people died in floods in western Maharashtra.

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First Published : 25 Aug 2019, 12:46:05 AM