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Minor 'govinda' falls during practice, dies

Posted on Aug 10 2014 | IANS

Mumbai, Aug 9 : A minor boy aspiring to be the "govinda" at next week's dahi-handi celebrations, fell during a practice session and succumbed to his injuries, officials said here Saturday.

The festival-eve tragedy struck late Friday when the schoolboy, Kiran Talekar (14), was practicing for an association in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai.

He had climbed up to the fifth tier in the "govinda" human pyramid, when it suddenly lost balance and fell; Talekar came crashing down along with the others.

Severely injured in the head and chest and bleeding, Talekar was rushed to a government hospital where he breathed his last Saturday morning.

This is the first incident of a "govinda" aspirant losing his life during the pre-festival training sessions and has raised issues of safety and minors being used for the celebrations where prize money runs into crores of rupees.

Last Tuesday, another "govinda" - Rajendra Baikar, 35, fell during dahi-handi practice and was seriously injured in Currey Road, south Mumbai.

Baikar suffered broken bones in his spine and has undergone a major operation at KEM Hospital, where his condition remains critical.

This year, the Child Welfare Commission and other organisations have recommended to the Maharashtra Government to ban the participation of minor children aged below 12 years as "govindas" in this year's dahi-handi celebrations.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Mumbai Poonam Mahajan-Rao has written to the state government and sought a ban on minors below 12 years in the dahi-handi celebrations.

Several social organisations and NGOs have also called for curbing the number of tiers in the human pyramids which have claimed lives in the past, the issue of insurance refused to minor participants, check on the opulent celebrations with crores of rupees in sponsorships and prize money, pollution level, and all-children's "govinda" mandals which take part in the celebrations.

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