Taking serious note of the continuing violence in the name of ‘Banni’ ritual at Devaragattu in Holagunda mandal in Kurnool district on the occasion of Dasara (October 24), which saw 107 people injured, the Lokayukta has pulled up the Kurnool district collector and superintendent of police for their inaction and failure to prevent the violence.
Lokayukta justice B Subhashan Reddy registered the incident as a suo motu complaint on Friday, based on media reports that 107 person were injured in the mock fight (banni) at Devaragattu temple festival despite deployment of over 100 policemen.
He observed that it was distressing to see again the devotees of Mala Malleswara Swamy temple of Devaragattu village indulging in violence to take hold of the deity’s idol.
Despite earlier directions to the district officials to prevent such violent methods followed in the name of tradition, bloodshed continued and people were injured, he pointed out.
Subshan Reddy had, as the then chairperson of AP State Human Rights Commission, directed the Kurnool district administration to ensure that violent methods were not adopted at Devaragattu festival in violation of law and human rights.
On the night of October 24, during the Devaragattu festival, 107 people were injured.
As per the information provided by the district police to the Lokayukta, 67 persons received head injuries, 20 received burns, 12 were injured in their legs, five in their hands, one in his nose and two fractured their hands.
Those who fractured their limbs were taken to the Area Hospital at Adoni in an ambulance.
Seeking an explanation as to how the incident had happened despite the earlier orders by AP State Human Rights Commission, the Lokayukta observed that the incident `ex facie’ showed inaction of officials such as the collector and superintendent of police and their subordinates who were duty-bound to prevent the violent activities.
Listing the case for hearing on November 14, the Lokayukta directed the Kurnool district collector and the SP to file their reports within two weeks, and directed the district medical & health officer to render all medical help effectively and diligently by providing free treatment, medicines and food and see that there was no loss of lives or loss of limbs on account of the injuries mentioned supra.
“It is stated that totally 107 persons had received the injuries and it is mandate of this Lokayukta that all such injured persons shall be rendered all possible medical help, to see that they come out healthy at the earliest, without incurring any money and any discomfort or inconvenienced either to themselves or their kith and kin attending on them.
The district medical & health officer, Kurnool is also directed to send the medical bulletin to this institution by fax every day between 4 and 5 pm,’’ the Lokayukta said