Raj Thackeray’s MNS openly defies SC ruling, hangs Dahi Handi at 49 feet in Thane
In clear violation of the Supreme Court order, a "dahi handi" in Mumbai’s Thane has been strung up at 49 feet, against the prescribed limit of 20 feet in Mumbai's Thane.
The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has already declared that they will not limit the height of handi below 20 feet and has also announced Rs 11 Lakhs prize money for a nine-tier pyramid.
"The Supreme Court cannot dictate how we celebrate our festivals. If I break the law then I am willing to go to jail for this," Avinash Jadhav, the MNS member oraganising Dahi handi in Thane, was quoted as saying by NDTV. Jadhav made it amptly clear that he only takes his orders from his boss Raj Thackeray.
After openly appealing to his followers to defy the Supreme Court orders restricting the height of Dahi Handi, MNS chief Raj Thackeray today warned Mumbai Police against interfering in the dahi handi celebrations in the state.
Making it clear that he is least bothered about a contempt notice, Raj said the court should have heard the side of govinda mandals before taking any action against them.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police has also decided to videograph the revelries as proof of any violation by organisers. However, reports also said police officials stood and watched as preparations for the record-breaking attempt were underway. Some of them were even seeing clicking selfies.
On the eve of Janmashtami, the Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking its nod to form human pyramids above 20 feet for the 'dahi handi' functions that mark the festivities, particularly in Maharashtra.
Supreme Court had said that youth below 18 years of age cannot participate in the dahi handi ritual, part of the Janmashtami festival, and the height of the human pyramid for it cannot exceed 20 feet, a limit earlier fixed by the Bombay High Court.
The SC order had stirred sharp reaction from political parties and dahi handi organisers, who opined that the restrictions would hamper the magnanimity of the celebrations, while not using bal govindas (children who climb till top of the human pyramid) will pose a challenge for other participants.