Karnataka devotee killed in stampede, 70 injured during Banni stick fight in AP
In this process, both groups fighted ferociously with sticks. However, none of the groups file cases against each other.
Published: 07th October 2022 05:32 AM | Last Updated: 07th October 2022 05:32 AM | A+A A-
KURNOOL: A devotee from Karnataka died in a stampede, and at least 70 sustained injuries during the traditional Banni stick fight held at Devaragattu hills near Sri Malamalleswara Swamy temple in Holagunda Mandal of Kurnool district on Wednesday night.
The deceased was identified as Ravindra Reddy (17), a resident of Madasuguru village, Karnataka.
Seven injured persons were shifted to Adoni Area Government Hospital for treatment. The other injured persons were undergoing treatment at Aluru hospital. Banni festival (traditional stick fight), also called Karrala samaram, was held in grand manner at Devaragattu hills on the outskirts of Neradiki village in Holagunda mandal on Wednesday night.
Nearly three lakh people from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana thronged the hill to watch the festival while as many as 3,000 people clashed with each other with sticks, as part of the ‘banni’ celebrations.
According to temple committee chairman G Sreenivasulu, Lord Siva took the form of Bhairava to kill two Rakshasas -- Mani and Mallasura. He killed the two demons by fighting with sticks and ensured that there was no problem for humanity. People believe that causing blood injuries during fights with sticks is a good omen.
As per tradition, the villagers of Neradiki, Neranikitanda, and Kothapeta representing the followers of the lord, at midnight on Dasara, took the idols of Mala Malleswara Swamy from Devaragattu to their respective villages and villagers of Ellarti, Arikera, Maddigeri, Nitranatta, Sulavai and Hebbetam representing the followers of demons, obstructed them.
In this process, both groups fought ferociously with sticks. However, none of the groups files cases against each other. Though they fight hard on this day, they bear no personal grudge against each other. The district police department has deployed nearly 1,300 police personnel for the “peaceful” conduct of the festival.