Thane Police lodged a case on Thursday against the organisers of a local dahi handi celebration that saw the formation of a nine-tier human pyramid in violation of Supreme Court guidelines.
The ‘Jai Jawan ‘ mandal set up the massive human pyramid that measures at least 42 feet at one point, 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 top court set a maximum height of 20 feet- about the height of a two-storey building – for the human pyramids formed during the Janmashtami celebrations and restricted minors from participating, citing safety concerns.
But the order was met with resistance in Maharashtra – where thousands of people participate in Dahi handi and young men form human pyramids to reach and smash a pot of curd hung on a rope as high as 40-50 feet.
“The apex court tells us not to break the handi and we are following that. We have formed a nine-tier human pyramid but have not broken the handi,” said a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader.
“We have registration of 145 mandals and till 4pm around 50 mandals have formed human pyramid.” Dahi-handi celebrations organised by the MNS violated the SC guidelines at many places.
The Thane MNS chief Avinash Jadhav was seen wearing a T-shirt that said,” Mi kayda modnar( I will break the law’). The pyramid was made in front of police who watched helplessly as young men climbed on top of each other to reach and smash a pot of curd hung from above.
Initially the handi was set up at 42 ft and a nine-tier pyramid formed but the height was lowered to 20 feet after a police request.
“ We have taken all precautionary measures. We followed the court rules and regulation and are breaking the matki at a height below 20ft. It’s a religious function that everyone should know about,” said Anil Mhatre, Thane city secretary of the MNS.
ON THE MONEY: FROM BIG PRIZES TO JUST PARTICIPATION
NCP leader (then MLA) from Worli, Sachin Ahir increased the prize money from Rs60 lakh in 2012 to Rs1 crore in 2013
Rs1.11 crore offered by NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad to dahi handi groups in Thane
Rs51 lakh offered by Jitendra Awhad as prize money (Rs25 lakh to the winner and Rs26 lakh to the other teams
At Worli, Sachin Ahir-backed Sankalp Partishtan’s dahi handi offered a cash prize of Rs25 lakhSada Sarvankar of Shiv Sena in Dadar gave Rs5,000 cash to each of the participating teams
In August, after the festival, Swati Patil of Utkarsh Mahila Samajik Sanstha filed a petition in the Bombay HC to bring down the height of human pyramids to 20 feet and age of govindas (team members) to a minimum of 18 years
No more big bucks: Jitendra Awhad opted out of dahi handi events following the age and height restrictions
Nerul corporator Ravindra Ithape of NCP organised a competition with Rs11 lakh for the winner
Sunil Chougule Sports Association of Airoli, offered Rs11 lakh for winners and participants
In September, Swati Patil filed a contempt petition against the Maharashtra government for not enforcing court directives
All mandals do away with big prizes, offering just ‘participation prizes’ ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs25,000 to teams successfully forming 20-feet pyramids.