2 'Govindas' die in dahi handi-related incidents, 117 injured

Mumbai
16 Aug 2017

While two 'Govindas' - one each in Palghar district and Airoli in Navi Mumbai-- died in dahi handi-related incidents, 117 others were injured at different places in Mumbai while forming human pyramids as part of the festival that was celebrated with fervour today, officials said. In Palghar, the 21-year-old govinda died after he suffered an epileptic attack during the celebrations, while in Airoli, the 34-year-old victim died of electrocution. The deceased in Palghar was identified as Rohan Kini, police said adding, "He was a part of a human pyramid. He got down from the pyramid after breaking the handi. But soon afterwards, he suffered an epileptic attack and he died while being taken to a hospital in Palghar around 6.30 pm." The victim in Airoli was identified as Jayesh Sarle, police said. "The incident took place at a dahi handi event organised at a school ground in Airoli around 6.30 pm. Jayesh, who was also a govinda, was standing near the gate of the venue when he came in contact with a live wire," a senior official attached to Rabale police station, said.
The victim was taken to a hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead, he said. In Mumbai, as many as 117 govindas suffered injuries during the celebrations, civic officials said. A statement issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, "By 9 pm, as many as 117 govindas were reported to have received injuries while celebrating dahi handi at different locations of the city."  "The injured are receiving treatment in different hospitals, including KEM, Nair, Siddharth, GT and Sion hospital. All were reported to be stable," it said. 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. Rain and fear of injuries failed to dampen the spirit of 'govindas' as hundreds of them were seen moving around in trucks and tempos, travelling from one 'handi' venue to another in Mumbai. 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. Organisers of dahi handi competitions, however, said this year the celebrations were relatively low-key in view of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), income tax woes and demonetisation. Member of a mandal said, "After the demonetisation, several mandals substantially reduced the prize money offered to the Govinda trou Another member said, "While demonetisation 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 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." (PTI)