Open flouting of Supreme Court orders restricting human pyramids over 20 feet, 'govindas' on rashly driven bikes sporting bandanas instead of wearing helmets, injuries minor and grievous to participants marked off Dahi Handi celebrations in Mumbai and adjoining areas on the occasion of Krishna Janmamashtami on Thursday.
Emboldened by an open call by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray to ignore the Supreme Court restrictions on height and not to allow anyone below 18 years of age to participate, many of the MNS backed 'mandals' brazenly disobeyed the orders.
Till 6 pm, around 71 'govindas' were admitted in different hospitals across the city for various injuries although 54 of them were released soon.
"We video recorded the human pyramids today and will start action from tomorrow against those who broke the Supreme Court order,"said a senior police official.
The police also arrested MNS leader Avinash Yadav who openly defied the Supreme Court orders during the 'dahi handi' celebrations in Thane. Yadav was booked under the charge of willfully disobeying an order by a public servant, in this case the police.
Displeasure with the apex court order on the curtailment of height was seen among 'govindas' in areas like Dadar and Thane particularly when the police intervened forcing the organisers to reduce the height of the 'dahi handi' to 20 feet.
But there were some reasonable voices too.
“We have taken all precautionary measures. We followed the court rules and regulation and are breaking the matki at a height below 20 feet. It’s a religious function that everyone should know about,” said Anil Mhatre, Thane city secretary of the MNS.
In one of the 'mandals', a little girl — who climbed up to the ninth level of the human pyramid — was seen dangling in the air through the help of a fastener clearly proving that the age restriction was insolently broken.
The Jai Jawan mandal, which failed in its last ditch effort to convince the apex court on the height limitations, had put up a massive human pyramid measuring at least 42 feet at one point, more than twice the limit set by the top court.
“We are in process of lodging a case against all those who participated in the nine-tier human pyramid at Naupada. They have not followed the norms of the Supreme Court,” said Thane deputy commissioner of police Parag Manere.
The violations came a day after the apex court set a maximum height of 20 feet for the human pyramids formed during the dahi handi celebrations and restricted minors from participating, citing safety concerns.
The police is likely to take action against 19 mandals which were backed by MNS for contempt of court.