Dahi Handi on Gokulashtami festival is fast approaching. However, even after the Bombay High Court’s directive, which came last year, the Maharashtra government is yet to issue guidelines to set a cap on the height of the human pyramid.
According to Indian Express, Swati Patil — chief of NGO Utkarsha Mahila Samajik Sanstha — wrote to the government, warning that the NGO would move court if even a single “govinda” loses his life or sustains serious injuries. Patil told the leading daily, “The government is not only defying the orders of the HC but also seems to be evading the implementation of the court orders. The state not framing guidelines will give a free hand to organisers to compete with each other by forming the tallest pyramid. This puts many young lives at risk.”
In 2014, the Bombay High Court had passed an order saying children below the age of 18 cannot participate in the festival and had also imposed a height restriction of 20 feet for the pyramids. The state government had then appealed in the Supreme Court, which, on 1 August 2017, referred the matter back to the High Court, directing it to hear the petitions afresh. The Bombay High Court had then directed the government to regulate the height and ensure that organisers and govindas follow safety rules.
“The court’s order refers to the age limit for govindas participating in the Dahi Handi. We have restricted the age limit to 14 years and above. No limitation has been set on the height of the human pyramid and the HC has not even set a timeline for the government to come out with guidelines. People are unnecessarily spoiling the spirit of the festival,” Kamlesh Bhoir, secretary of Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti told the leading daily.