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Government wants kids banned from participating in ‘dahi handi’ pyramids

Saturday, 8 February 2014 - 6:30am IST Updated: Saturday, 8 February 2014 - 12:59am IST | Agency: dna

Public opinion sought on stopping under-12 children from taking part in Dahi Handi.

The state child rights panel says it is dangerous for children to participate in the traditional ‘dahi handi’ human pyramids and it has asked for opinions on a proposal to ban the involvement of kids aged under 12.

AN Tripathi, secretary, Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said on Friday, “It can be dangerous to involve children to break dahi handis, so parents should not allow children to participate in this activity. We are calling for suggestions and opinions from experts and children in this regard.’’

The commission has also asked the police for a report on the matter with seven days and it will consider these responses before taking a final decision on the proposal. A discussion forum for this purpose will be opened on the commission’s website shortly.

The matter was put up before the state panel by Pawan Pathak, a resident of Saki Naka, who complained that the lives of many kids were endangered by Govinda groups, lured by the big money promised by political parties that organised the festivities.

“Several children have lost their lives and, hence, this practice should be stopped and a strict order should be passed to not allow them to  be involved in the breaking of dahi handi,” said Pathak. His complaint focused on children aged four to 10 years.

Ujjwal Ukey, acting chairperson of the commission, underlined the need to cover children up to 12 years. “There are no safety measures in place when children participate in the human pyramids, so it is advised that we should ban children under the age of 12 from participating.”

Children are the last to climb the top of the human pyramid to reach the dahi handi as they weigh less. Over the years, organisers offering bigger prizes have raised the height of the earthen pots, increasing the risk for kids as well as others climbing up the multiple tiers.

Cases of Govindas — participants in the pyramids — suffering serious injuries or even death are common, raising safety concerns.

The breaking of handis containing milk, curd, butter, fruits and water, is a special feature of the festivities on Janmashtami (the birthday of Lord Krishna).

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