Over 30,000 policemen will be on bandobast duty today on the occasion of Janmashtami. They have appealed to Govinda mandals to abide by the court ruling of not allowing children below 12 years of age to participate in dahi handi, and not to travel on the tops of heavy vehicles, thereby risking their lives.
"We have cancelled the leaves of the entire force as Janmashtmi is a grand event celebrated across the city which attracts large crowds. Apart from 30,000 policemen, we will also have officers from the home guards and four batches of the state reserve police force on duty," said a senior officer.
He added that special police bandobast will be made at locations like Dadar, Worli, Jogeshwari and Andheri, which is expecting massive crowds during the dahi handi event. "During our meetings with the Govinda mandals, we briefed on banning children under 12 from being part of the dahi handi event. If anyone is found to have violated the court ruling, action will be taken against them," the officer said.
Several mandals also use trucks and tempos to ferry Govindas across the city. "We often observe youngsters sitting atop trucks and tempos, thereby risking their lives. We have requested the mandals not to allow them to do so and not indulge in triple seating on motorcycles. They have also been requested not to create unnecessary traffic jams at important junctions in the city," said a traffic police officer, requesting anonymity.
On August 14, the Supreme Court had directed that no child below the age of 12 years will be permitted to participate in forming human pyramids during Dahi Handi, keeping on hold a Bombay High Court order which barred participation of children under 18.
The apex court also said that state authorities should ensure that the festival be allowed subject to the condition that the organisers follow all guidelines containing safety measures, recommended by Maharashtra
State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, are followed. Dahi Handi is held on Janmasthami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, every year. It involves forming a human pyramid and breaking an earthen pot filled with buttermilk, which is tied at a height.