Mumbai: Dahi handi injuries down to less than half, thanks to stricter rules

With more stringent safety regulations in place this year for dahi handi groups, this year saw less than half the number of injuries than last year; cops put in particular effort to ensure no underage govindas took part

With dahi handi organisers observing safety regulations more stringently this year, yesterday witnessed less than half the number of injuries than last year. In fact, thanks to the use of safety gear, most of the injuries were not serious and the patients were discharged yesterday itself.

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An injured govinda
An injured govinda is rushed to KEM Hospital by his friends. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Compared to last year’s figure of 300 injured, this year saw a much less 130 getting injured, thanks to the supervision of Mumbai Police and dahi handi organisers.

While more than 90% of the patients were treated on an OPD (out-patient) basis, 12 people needed further medical assistance and had trauma injuries were admitted in Sion, Nair and KEM hospitals. Last year had witnessed 29 serious injuries. mid-day spoke to a few of the patients to learn that many were simply bystanders and weren’t even part of the dahi handi formations.

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Most number of injuries were reported from Dadar, Worli and Prabhadevi. Since the number of dahi handi organisers in Thane has reduced significantly this year, so have the number of injuries.

Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals with over 58 patients and six admissions, said that all the patients are stable. “We started attending to the dahi handi patients from morning, and most of them were treated on OPD basis. One person had to undergo surgery, while five others were moved to the orthopaedic ward for their injuries,” said Supe.

Cops keep watch
While stricter norms kept the govindas safe, they also led to quieter celebrations this year, with restrictions on the number of layers in the dahi handi formations, noise levels and a strict ban on participation by govindas under the age of 12. Police officials on bandobast duty ensured that no children below 12 took part in the formations.

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“We had given instructions to every police personnel on duty to check the birth certificate of the participant if they doubt that he is underage. Any of them who didn’t have the certificate were not allowed to participate and their details were noted. Thankfully, we found no such mandals who tried to include children in the human towers,” said Senior Police Inspector Ashok Jagdale, of Shivaji Park police station, which handles one of the busiest dahi handi jurisdictions.

 

Bearing the brunt

Break a leg

Despite the fact that 28-year-old Dharavi resident Ramdas Dalvi (in pic) was not a part of the dahi handi layers of Siddhivinayak Govinda Pathak, he was amongst five who were rushed to Sion Hospital yesterday, and the only one to be admitted. “I was not a part of the actual formation but was standing by to support the layers. When the human pyramid came crashing down, three of the boys fell on me accidentally, and all the pressure fell on my right leg,” said Dalvi, who sustained a fracture in his limb.

Below the belt
Dahi handi will be unforgettable for Prabhadevi-resident Prasad Kudalkar (23), who was injured not due to crashing govindas, but a water balloon which hit his groin. “He was able to walk and talk, but he said that one of his testicles had begun to swell abnormally. We didn’t take any chances and rushed him to the hospital immediately,” said his friend Nandu Chavan.

Too close for comfort
The one mistake Parshuram Yadav (49) made was to get too close to the govindas, some of whom fell on him. The 49-year-old shopkeeper from Prabhadevi said, “I accidentally went a little too close to the pyramid and it suddenly collapsed. Three to four of the govindas fell on me and I twisted my leg and also sustained injuries on my back. I had difficulty in even getting up or walking, so other people helped me to KEM Hospital.”

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