Mumbai: One dead, 45 injured during Dahi Handi celebrations

Mumbai, August 16: Even as Dahi Handi was celebrated with fervour in and around Mumbai, at least 45 Govindas were injured in the city while forming human pyramids as part of the festival, while another one died in Palghar district after he suffered an epileptic attack during the celebrations.

However, the Dahi handi celebrations this year were relatively low-key in view of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), income tax woes and demonetization.

Rains and fear of injuries failed to dampen the spirit of ‘Govinda’ as hundreds of them were seen moving around in trucks and tempos, travelling from one ‘handi’ venue to another in the metropolis.

The festival, which marks the birth of Lord Krishna, was celebrated with enthusiasm across the city, including in areas like Ghatkopar, Dadar, Lalbaug and Bhandup.

“As many as 45 Govindas were injured in Mumbai till 5 pm,” civic officials.

“One of them was seriously injured and admitted to a hospital, while others were discharged after they were administered first aid,” they added.

In Palghar, 21-year-old Rohan Kini died after he suffered an epileptic attack during the celebrations, police said.

“He got down from the human pyramid after breaking the handi. But immediately afterwards, he suffered an epileptic attack. He died on way to a hospital in Palghar around 6.30 pm,” a police officer said.

Members of some Dahi Handi mandals said the dahi handi celebrations this year were slightly subdued.

“After the demonetization, several mandals substantially reduced the prize money offered to the Govinda troupes,” member of a mandal said.

Another member said, “While demonetization has slightly hit the cash flow, the implementation of GST, has made the people doubly cautious as they fear that the Income Tax department may come knocking any time. Therefore, many have decided to reduce the prize money.”

Last week, the state government had assured the Bombay high court during the hearing on a PIL that it would ensure that children below 14 years of age would not participate in the formation of Dahi Handi pyramids.

The HC, however, had refused to impose any restriction on the height of human pyramid formations.

Secretary of Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti, Kamlesh Bhoir, said, “After the high court removed the restrictions on the height of pyramids, we were only left with the task of ensuring that children under the age of 14 do not participate in forming the human pyramids.”

Across Maharashtra, ‘Govinda’ troupes compete to form multi-tier pyramids and break pitchers of curd and buttermilk tied high above the ground on this day.