50 people injured in Andhra Pradesh's Banni Utsavam: All you need to know about stick fight festival
50 people injured in Andhra Pradesh's Banni Utsavam: All you need to know about stick fight festival

Despite the imposition of section 144 in the area yesterday, people in large numbers gathered to celebrate Banni festival in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.

At least 50 persons were injured during the stick fight ritual in Devaragattu village of Kurnool district.

What is Banni Utsavam (Festival)?

Banni festival is held in Devaragattu and surrounding villages in Kurnool district and as part of this festival in which people fight with sticks to get hold of ceremonial idols of local deities.

Every year this festival is held on the day next to Vijay Dashmi.

People from the village, vicinity, nearby districts and also neighbouring states descend on Devaragattu around midnight on Vijayadasami to celebrate the festival in their own unique way by hitting each other hard with sticks.

Many people bleed and suffer injuries during the hitting fest.

The hitting festivities are part of the Sri Mala Malleswara Swamy temple located on top of a hill. In this annual ceremony, many people suffer injuries every year.

This year, despite police restrictions, the imposition of Section 144, and setting up check posts everywhere; people did not stop. By 10:30 PM a huge number of people accumulated and started fighting with sticks.

The police were unable to stop the participants. The fight continued until the wee hours of this morning. Almost 50 persons are injured during the event.

Earlier it was reported that traditional stick fight celebration called 'Banni festival' was cancelled this year in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The police had set up 11 check posts at Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka borders, cancelled Karnataka RTC bus services for Aluru, Holagonda and Halaharvi Mandals for that day.

(With inputs from agencies)

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