IndiaNewsNetwork Bureau | 6th Sept 2015: In a blatant violation of a Bombay High Court directive restricting the height of the human pyramid to 20 feet or a maximum of 5 layers while breaking of the Dahi Handi, Govindas in Mumbai and nearby areas breached police guidelines several times over by creating pyramids of over 20 feet or up to 7 to 8 layers.
As reported by the media, the Mumbai Police, as per the directive of Bombay High Court and the state administration, directed organizers and Govinda mandals to limit the height of the human pyramids to 20 feet. For the last three years, Govindas have been making a towering nine-layer human pyramids, which also entered Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 for 43.79 feet height, as reported by DNA.
The DNA report says, “apart from the height restriction, there are more do’s and don’ts. Letters have been despatched from all police stations to various organizers citing the same. Confirming the development, Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police and public relations officer said, “All police stations have issued a notice to all the mandals and organisers. These have been issued under section 149 of the CrPC. These notices are as per the High Court order and directive from the government. We have directed them to adhere to it. The onus will be on both the organisers and the mandals who participate,” said Kulkarni. He added, “Cases will be registered based on the violations, be it noise pollution, flouting of environment laws, Maharashtra Police Act, etc.”
As per the notice, besides the 20-foot height restriction, Govindas will have to take care of safety precautions like helmet, safety belt and cushion. Name, address, photo and age of Govindas will have to be provided, as well as information on the insurance policies taken on behalf of Govindas. Organisers will have to provide for ambulance and first-aid service at the venue. Children below 12 are not allowed to participate, while those between 12 and 18 will have to produce an NOC from parents. Also vehicles are barred from parking or entering the venue.
“The letter from the police has only increased to the confusion. We were under the impression that the curbs were only in Thane, and not Mumbai,” said According to Kamlesh Bhoir, member of Dahi Handi Utsav Samanvay Samiti, “Our preparation is for seven to eight layers. They have taken away all the fun from the festival by limiting the height. But if the police can allow seven layers of human pyramid organised by Ashish Shellar, we see no reason why we should be stopped,” claimed Arun Patil, coach of Sarvajanik Govinda Pathak, Mazgaon which had reached nine layers.
Not just that, at several places tankers full of water were sprayed on the Govindas attempting to break the Dahi Handi in spite of the fact that Mumbai and Maharashtra is facing a severe water shortage with the rains playing truant. At many venues kids below the age of 15 were seen participating in the pyramid. It is anyone’s guess if these kids have obtained the written permission from their parents to do so, as mandated by the High Court.