Kurnool: Over 100 injured in stick fight at Devaragattu
Dozens of people were injured in the violence during the Bunni Utsavam, a traditional mock stick fight in Dasara celebrations held at Devaragattu village in Holagonda mandal late Friday night.
Kurnool: Dozens of people were injured in the violence during the Bunni Utsavam, a traditional mock stick fight in Dasara celebrations held at Devaragattu village in Holagonda mandal late Friday night. Of the total injured, the condition of around six persons were stated to be in critical state. The critically injured were rushed to Adoni government general hospital after extending primary treatment at Alur government hospital. The other injured were shifted to Alur government hospital for treatment.
According to sources, hundreds of villagers in two rival groups divided into two groups and attacked each other with sticks during Bunni festival at Devaragattu village in Holagonda mandal on Friday night.
Police said more than 40 people were injured in the clashes but unconfirmed reports have put the number at 100.
A police officer said the violence broke out during the traditional fight on a hillock at Mala Malleshwaraswamy temple. Though large number of policemen were deployed to prevent the fight, villagers defied the orders to organise the fight.
As part of the annual celebrations, villagers from Neraniki, Neraniki Tanda and Kottapeta villages fight with devotees of Arikera, Arikera Tanda, Suluvai, Ellarthi, Kurukunda, Bilehall and Virupapuram to secure the idols of the deity.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva took the form of Bhairava and clobbered two demons, Mani and Mallasura, with sticks. The villagers enact the scene on Vijayadashami Day. Group of villagers from demons' side try to snatch the idols from the other group, called God's team. They fight with sticks for the idols.
Thousands of people from various parts of Kurnool and surrounding districts and even neighbouring Telangana and Karnataka states gather at the village to watch the traditional ritual, a part of Dasara celebrations.
The fight results in injuries to several people every year but devotees consider these injuries as a good omen. Though authorities conduct awareness programmes every year to dissuade villagers and even impose prohibitory orders, they defy the orders on the ground that the fight is part of their tradition.
Due to relaxation of Covid-19 norms after a gap of two years, nearly four lakh people from various places of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana including Andhra Pradesh states have thronged the Devara Gattu to have the glimpse of the fete.
In the mock stick fight, over 4,000 people participated with sticks and clashed with each other as part of 'Bunni' celebrations. During the fight, at least 60-70 devotees have suffered injuries during a stampede.
Though several people sustain injuries, they will never file complaints on each other. None of the villagers that take part in the mock fight will bear any personal grudge. Even the villagers will never go to the hospital for treatment. Instead they will smear turmeric and ash on the wounds and believe that this will heal the injuries effectively than the Allopathic medicine.
Speaking to media persons on
Saturday, Adoni DSP Vinod Kumar said the festival was concluded peacefully
except some people sustaining injuries and no complaints have been received from any of them.