Mumbai: 140 injured in Dahi Handi festivities even as celebrations remain low-key due to floods

Traditional celebrations at Panvel City (Narendra Vaskar)

Mumbai witnessed subdued Dahi Handi festivities on Saturday with several organisers deciding to keep the celebrations a low-key affair in the wake of the recent flood in western Maharashtra, even as 140 people across the city were injured as they attempted to form human pyramids and break handis.

Dahi Handi festivities conducted by prominent organisers, including politicians Pandurang Sakpal in Girgaon, Ram Kadam in Ghatkopar, Sachin Ahir in Worli and Sanjay Nirupam in Andheri, had either been cancelled or scaled down in view of the recent flood. Some mandals also donated money for relief work.

Dahi Handi celebrations at Dadar (Nirmal Harindran)

In Thane, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena called some families affected by the flood in western Maharashtra and assured to help them reconstruct their houses.

Many politicians are holding simple Dahi Handi celebrations citing severe flood in the state, Bala Padelkar of Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti, which coordinates with several mandals in Mumbai, said.

Meanwhile, at least 32 people, injured during the festivities across Mumbai, required hospitalisation after they attempted to form human pyramids and break dahi handis.

A nine-layer human pyramid at Vartaknagar in Thane on Saturday (Deepak Joshi)

In Lalbagh, 41-year-old Sunil Prabhakar Sawant suffered a spinal injury and was left quadriplegic losing nerve sensations in all four limbs after he fell off a human pyramid organised as a part of the festivities by Shri Sai Devashthan Govinda Pathak. Sawant was rushed to KEM Hospital where doctors diagnosed loss of nerve sensation in his limbs. His family later shifted him to another hospital.

In quadriplegia, sensation in both hands and legs is lost. Chances of nerve sensation to return is rare, Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM Hospital, said.

The hospital reportedly treated 27 injured revellers from Worli, Dadar, Lalbagh and Parel for minor injures. Six of them, including Sawant and a 12-year-old boy, required hospitalisation.

A child dressed as Lord Krishna at ISKCON. (Pradip Das)

The boy, Vignesh Katkar, reportedly suffered head injury when he attempted to climb a human pyramid and was admitted to KEM Hospital s emergency trauma ward. He is stable, Dr Deshmukh said. The other injured persons were discharged after treatment, he said.

At JJ hospital, 17-year-old Mansi Bhoir was treated for an injured toe. Her nail had chipped while she was trying to climb the pyramid. She was treated on out-patient department basis, hospital s medical superintendent Dr Sanjay Surase said.

Twelve injured persons were treated at Sion hospital. Of them seven required hospitalisation for fracture and multiple wounds.

In 2018, a total of 243 people were injured during Janmashtami celebrations, with 24 requiring hospitalisation.

Doctors said increased awareness this year helped curb fatalities with various organisers of Dahi Handis taking measures to ensure safety of the govindas who form the human pyramids.