70 injured as Devaragattu turns bloody again; boy dies of heart attack

74 persons were injured in the traditional stick-fight at Devaragattu village as part of Banni Utsav



KURNOOL: As many as 74 persons were injured in the traditional stick-fight at Devaragattu village of Holagunda mandal in Kurnool district as part of Banni Utsav coinciding with the Dussehra celebrations. The condition of a few injured persons is stated to be critical. They were being treated at the government hospitals in Adoni and Alur.

According to information, a large number of people from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka flocked to the festival at Mala Malleswara Swamy temple in Devaragattu late Wednesday night to watch the weird stick-fight as part of the Banni festival.

As part of a long tradition, villagers, who were divided into two groups, fought pitched battles with sticks to grab the idols of the temple deity. Like every year, this year too, the stick-fight ended on a violent note. At least 70 participants were reported to have suffered bleeding injuries in the annual violent ritual. The officials however refused to reveal the details of the injured and did not allow the media to enter the hospital.

Hours before its start, the event was marred by tragedy after a young visitor from Karnataka died of a heart attack. Ravindranath Reddy, a young boy, who came to Devaragattu village to witness the stick-fight, collapsed on the temple premises.

It is learnt that despite putting tight curbs in place and carrying out awareness programmes, the police and the authorities could not prevent these untoward incidents from happening during the Banni festival.

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