Banni festival: 4 killed, 50 injured in traditional stick fight during Dussehra celebrations
Amaravathi, Oct 09: Four were killed and 50 more people were injured after Andhra's Banni festival turned violent in Devaragatta village of Kurnool district. Thousands of devotees participated in a mock stick fight during annual Banni Banni festival of Sri Mala Malleswara Swamy temple at Devaragattu in Holagunda mandal.
According to the tradition, people beat each other with sticks to claim the idol of their deity on the occasion of Vijayadashami or Dussehra celebrations.
People of five villages form two separate groups and fight with each other. It is a tradition which has been followed since centuries.
During the battle, few people have sustained injuries and have been admitted to Adoni Government hospital.
The police claimed that they made efforts to convince people not to indulge in violent acts by launching campaigns and initiating awareness programmes.
"On Vijayadasami, one thousand policemen were deployed for security arrangements. CCTV and drone cameras were used for monitoring. Despite all efforts, people did not step back from clashing, which they believe is a way of celebration," said Veera Pandiyan, Kurnool district collector.