SC ruling on Dahi Handi met with disappointment in Maharashtra

Mumbai, Aug 17 (PTI) The Supreme Court ruling on age barof ‘Govindas’ participating in the ‘Dahi-Handi’ ritual inMaharashtra, today met with disappointment back home withpolitical leaders and local groups seeing the move as asetback to the festive tradition and demanded that the stategovernment file a review petition in the case. Arun Sawant, spokesperson of the Mumbai Congress, termedthe cap as "unnecessary" and said, "This is really verydisheartening because in the last few years, many organisershave came forward to take care of Govindas in case of anyeventuality. They vouched for the well-being of the Govindasand took upon their medical and financial responsibility ifanything untoward happens." He said it is only the small organisers who put Govindas’lives at risk during the Dahi Handi event. Ruling BJP too said that it will do every bit to protectthe "sheen" of the festival. "Such sort of a cap is an attempt to spoil our richculture of Dahi Handi which not only unites youth but alsomakes them stronger. We are going to do every bit to save thispopular festival," Mumbai BJP spokesperson Yogesh Verma said. Congress leader and former MP Sanjay Nirupam, demandedthat the state government file a review petition in theSupreme Court. "This government should take a leaf from the Tamil Nadugovernment which challenged the ban imposed on Jallikattu bythe Supreme Court after which it had to withdraw the ban." NCP demanded the Centre’s intervention in the matter tosave the tradition. "Since state government has miserably failed to put forthits stand on the issue, therefore our party demands uniongovernment to step in and preserve the tradition," said UdayPratap Singh, Mumbai NCP spokesperson. "The previous government had taken bold steps to securethis festival with the cooperation of Dahi Handi mandals underthe leadership of NMS leader Bala Nandgaonkar. But thisgovernment is busy defending ban on dance bars and has lostfocus of sentimental and religious issues," he said. However, Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe refused tocomment over the SC ruling and said that it won’t be wise toreact without going through the the judgement. Bhau Koregaonkar, the propounder of ‘Gorakhnath MahilaDahi Handi Pathak’, the oldest and leading Dahi-Handi team offemale Govindas, too reacted cautiously and said the onus ison the state government to protect the rich culture andtradition embodied in the festival. "Supreme Court’s decision cannot be blatantly slammedbecause definitely there is a lot of risk involved in thisritual. There have been so many untoward incidents that forcedthe judiciary to put a cap on it," said Koregaonkar. "I think there should be a regulating agency to controland guide this tradition. Dahi Handi organisers must be issuedlicenses under strict guidelines," he added. The apex court today said that youth below 18 years ofage cannot participate in the Dahi Handi ritual, part of theJanmashtami festival in Maharashtra and the height of thehuman pyramid for it cannot exceed 20 feet, a limit fixed bythe Bombay High Court.PTI APM DK RCJ ZMNRCJ


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