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MNS workers arrested for defying ban, BJP says festival should be allowed with stricter guidelines

On August 23, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that the government will not grant permission for Dahi Handi celebrations across the state. He had requested all organisers to prioritise the health of the people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: August 31, 2021 8:34:18 am
MNS workers were arrested for organising a Dahi Handi event on Monday. Deepak Joshi

The BJP and the MNS on Monday took on the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for imposing a ban on Dahi Handi celebrations in the state.

With Gokulashtami falling on Tuesday, police across Mumbai has served notices to various Dahi Handi mandals warning them against defying the state diktat.

In Thane, the Thane-Palghar unit chief of MNS, along with 20 party workers, were arrested on Monday after they held a sit-in protest demanding permission from authorities for traditional Dahi Handi celebrations. They were released later in the day.

On August 23, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that the government will not grant permission for Dahi Handi celebrations across the state. He had requested all organisers to prioritise the health of the people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In spite of the directive, some mandals and political leaders like Jadhav have said that they would celebrate the festival.

MNS leader Amey Khopkar tweeted on Monday, “Hindu festivals will be celebrated with tradition and culture in Thane.”

The BJP has also said that it has taken a decision to symbolically celebrate Dahi Handi. Party MLA Ashish Shelar said on Monday, “Is this government taking orders from Taliban? Why are all restrictions being enforced on Hindu festivals in Maharashtra?”

Maintaining that the state could have come up with stricter rules for the event, he said: “It should allow the Dahi Handi with stricter guidelines. We had also assured that only those who have taken both vaccine doses would be allowed to participate in the pyramid formation. Further, the height of the pyramid would be low.”

Dahi Handi festival is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. On this occasion, young boys and girls form a human pyramid to break an earthen pot filled with dahi hanging at a certain height.

The Mumbai and Thane police have served notices to many Dahi Handi mandals asking them not to erect human pyramids on Tuesday as it may lead to spread of Covid 19.

Thane Police commissioner Jai Jeet Singh said, “About 200 mandals have been issued notices. We appeal to all not to break any government rule. Otherwise, we will be constrained to take legal action.”

The notices have been served under Section 149 (police to prevent cognizable offences) of CrPC.

A Mumbai Police officer from northern suburbs said, “So far, we have served notices to 47 Dahi Handi mandals.”

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