KURNOOL: Banni Utsavam, the traditional stick fight, was held on a large scale at Devaragattu hill on the outskirts of Neraniki village in Holagunda mandal of the district on Friday midnight despite the presence of a huge police force.
Defying Covid-19 restrictions, about two lakh people from various parts of Andhra Pradesh as well as from neighbouring Karnataka and Telangana thronged Devaragattu hill to witness Banni Utsavam, which is locally called ‘Karrala Samaram’.
After two years, the State government had permitted the conduct of Banni Utsavam. In gross violation of the ban imposed by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on the stick fight, nearly 4,000 people from Neraniki, Neranikitanda and Kothapeta clashed with villagers of Ellarti, Arikera, Maddigeri, Nirtanatta, Sulavai and Hebbetam to take possession of the idol of Lord Mala Malleswara as part of Banni Utsavam.
In the stick fight, 60 people were injured. Three of them suffered fractures, while three others sustained severe head injuries in the fight. The severely injured were shifted to Adoni government hospital, while others were treated at Alur.
Nearly 1,000 police personnel were deployed to thwart the stick fight during the festival. All the efforts of police to prevent ‘Karrala Samaram’ had proved futile.
Police to book cases
Action will be taken against those indulged in the stick fight after analysing video footage and cases will also be booked against them for violating Covid curbs, said Adoni DSP Vinod Kumar