‘If Rallies, Protests Can Get Nod, Why Curbs on Janmashtami?’ Defiant Dahi Handi Mandals Keep Cops on Toes

Police stations across Mumbai are issuing notices and summoning govinda pathaks and warning them of preventive arrests and punitive actions if they deny the ban on Dahi Handi. The move comes after some dahi handi mandals have signalled that they will proceed with the human pyramid on Gokulashtami despite Covid restrictions.

Many police stations in the Maharashtra capital are dispatching police and cautioning the people against violating the Covid protocols. The Byculla police station confirmed that they had dispatched a notice to Tadwadi govinda Pathak warning them to follow the guidelines. Similarly, Jogeshwari Police cautioned Jai Jawan mandal against transgressing the law, Times of India reported.

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“Smaller mandals are lying low because they do not wish to risk police wrath. Their members are working professionals who cannot afford to be embroiled in police cases, just as they are resuming their livelihoods after the lockdown,” a mandal spokesperson said.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray yesterday said the Centre’s directives to states to ensure there is no crowding during the upcoming festivals underlines the need to prioritise lives of people amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a public appeal, Thackeray sought cooperation from political and social groups as well as all spheres of society as Covid-19 continued to hang over everyone’s heads like the “sword of Damocles”.

Experts fear that the festive season in September could trigger Covid surge similar to what the state witnessed in August-September last year.

However, large mandals didn’t reveal their plan for tomorrow but said they would do something to celebrate.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has openly admitted that it will defy the ban on Gokulashtami by putting together dahi handi events. Reports say that the party is networking with the addrieved mandals which are upset with the cancellation.

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MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar yesterday visited a ground in Thane to assess the preparations. Party’s Thane Palghar district president said that they will go ahead with dahi handi plans and added that 40 mandals are already registered for the event.

“If the BJP can hold massive rallies, Shiv Sena can stage protests, why can’t our youth celebrate Janmashtami?” Avinash Jadhav said.

The mandals have sought permission for fully vaccinated members to indulge in the dahi handi.

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