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Uddhav appeals for muted Dahi Handi festival

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday appealed to “Dahi Handi” festival mandals to observe restraint in celebrations this year owing to the pandemic, in the wake of Niti Aayog’s warning of the possibility of a devastating third wave in India next month.

“Let’s keep our festivals and celebrations aside for some time to save lives of people. We should send this message to the world that Maharashtra prioritised health over everything. It is time to face the pandemic with patience and resolve,” Mr. Thackeray said in an online meeting of representatives of Dahi Handi groups, Ministers, doctors, political leaders, and officials.

Mr. Thackeray said that restrictions were being observed for over one-and-a-half years now. “One must realise that these restrictions are to save lives. Some are talking about agitating against the restrictions. They would do better if they protest against corona than the government,” he said.

Reiterating that relaxations in the pandemic restrictions are only to keep the economy running, Mr. Thackeray said that the present “window period” is to be used only to extend relief to the poor. “If the oxygen demand for COVID patients goes above 750 MT, then we will be left with no option but to implement lockdown, yet again,” he added.

Senior doctors, including members of the State task force against COVID-19, explained the reasons behind the need to show restraint in Dahi Handi celebrations. “The festival involves a human pyramid where ‘Govindas’ climb upon each other, water is thrown. A wet mask is useless for protection against the virus. One patient in a group may infect the entire troupe. We should celebrate the spirit of Dahi Handi by organising blood and medicine donation camps,” said Dr. Sanjay Oak.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded that the government should allow a traditional Dahi Handi in the spirit of the festival. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ashish Shelar said, “Low height handis with minimum crowd and only those with two doses of vaccine should be allowed. This is our demand. The Sena is neglecting it, but we will continue to push for it.”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 6:53:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/uddhav-appeals-for-muted-dahi-handi-festival/article36059587.ece

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