Scaling up its attack on the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday questioned “why are all restrictions being enforced on Hindu festivals in Maharashtra”.
BJP MLA and chief whip in Maharasthra Assembly, Ashish Shelar said: “Is this government taking orders from Taliban? Why are all restrictions being enforced on Hindu festivals in Maharashtra?”
The state government has banned the annual “Dahi Handi” celebrations on Janmashtami citing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Claiming the Shiv Sena was compromising on its “Hindutva”, he said it was the same party that raised “hue and cry” when the Bombay High Court court had restricted the height of human pyramids during Dahi Handi celebrations.
“A few years ago when the court, responding to public interest litigation, directed the government to restrict heights of the pyramid, there was hue and cry by Shiv Sena. It was the same Shiv Sena which asked, ‘Now, if restrictions are imposed in India, are we suppose to go to Pakistan and celebrate Dahi Handi,’” he said.
Shelar added that the government refused to allow Dahi Handi even with restrictions on the height of the human pyramids and crowds.
The BJP, however, has decided to symbolically observe the event despite the state government ban.
Apart from BJP, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has also threatened to defy the government orders on Dahi Handi. The MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said, “Why should government restrict the festival. We will celebrate ensuring all Covid guidelines. What kind of government is ruling Maharashtra which disallows peaceful festival celebration?”
At Thane, MNS activist Avinash Jadhav along with supporters staged a demonstration. The MNS had started preparations of Dahi Handi at a private open place in Thane, inviting police action.
Dahi Handi is a cultural event to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. It is a symbolic reenactment of Lord Krishna’s childhood.
Boys in the age group of 5 to 18, called Govindas, form a human pyramid to break a pot (handi) held by a thick rope at a certain height. The challenge is to break the pot containing yoghurt (dahi). Over the years Dahi Handi has emerged as a favourite cultural sport, often patronised by political parties and its clubs. The group which succeeds in breaking the pot is awarded prize money.