Dahi Handi, which is part of Krishna Janmashtami festival, is being celebrated on a grand scale across Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas, on Friday after the COVID-19 pandemic-induced gap of two years.
As part of the festival, youngsters (called 'govindas'), dressed in colourful attire, make human pyramids to reach an earthen pot containing buttermilk suspended mid-air, and break it. It symbolises victory through unity. The festival is celebrated on a large scale in Mumbai metropolitan areas.
According to civic authorities in Mumbai, 12 people were reported injured during the festivities till afternoon, of whom five were treated and discharged, while seven are hospitalised and their condition is stable.
Of the injured persons, five were treated at Nair Hospital, four at Poddar Hospital and one each at KEM Hospital, Trauma Care Hospital and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital in the western suburb of Kandivali, it was stated.
Groups of 'govindas' were seen moving around in cities and competing with each other for breaking Dahi Handis and winning prizes. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has been visiting Dahi Handi programmes in Thane, while Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis was present at events in Mumbai.
The state government had last month announced that there would be no restrictions on celebrating religious festivals, including Dahi Handi and Ganesh Chaturthi, this year. In the last two years, the celebrations were hampered due to the COVID-19 curbs.
On Thursday, Shinde had informed the state Legislative Assembly that the government has decided to accord adventure sport status to Dahi Handi.
The adventure sport tag will allow young participants at these events to apply for government jobs under the sports quota.
Participants or their families will be provided with compensation in case of fatal or other injuries suffered by the players during the formation of human pyramids, the chief minister had said on the eve of the festival.
In case of unfortunate death of a participant during the formation of human pyramids, his or her kin would get Rs 10 lakh as compensation from the state government. A player suffering serious injuries would receive Rs 7 lakh, while those sustaining fractures would be paid Rs 5 lakh, he said.
The state government would also bear the medical treatment cost of 'govindas' (participants) in case they suffer injuries, Shinde said.
Following the chief minister’s announcement, the state government issued a government resolution (GR) instructing all government, civic and zilla parishad hospitals and medical colleges to provide free statement to participants who are injured during these events.
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