Hundreds of people attending a Hindu festival in India’s western Maharashtra state on Thursday defied India’s Supreme Court order limiting the height of human pyramids due to safety concerns. Members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) regional party wearing T-shirts reading “I will break the law” formed a human pyramid 49 feet (15 m) tall in Thane district at a Janmashtami celebration marking the birth of Hindu deity Lord Krishna.
India’s Supreme Court on Aug. 17 upheld a lower court’s decision banning youths under 18 from participating in the ritual and restricting the height of the human pyramid to 20 feet (6 m). The pyramids invoke Krishna who, according to tradition, formed human pyramids with friends to break pots of butter or curd hung from the ceilings of houses so that they could steal the contents. Maharashtra’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that it would ask the court to reconsider its order.
“Government has taken note of all the feelings. We will once again approach the court but this time we have to respect the court and we have to take people with us,” said BJP leader Kirit Somaiya. In Mumbai, Krishna devotees lay on the ground in a human chain to protest the court order. Another group used a ladder to reach a curd pot and raised black flags in a show of protest.
Hundreds of people are injured every year while forming human pyramids as competition builds up to see which group can make the highest pyramid. Children are used to climb to the top levels without any safety harnesses.