A total of 52 people have been injured during the annual ‘Karrala Samaram’ (stick fight) while observing Banni festival held at Devaragattu, Holagunda mandal of Kurnool district on Tuesday night.
Of the total, 50 sustained minor injuries and two were referred to a hospital nearby for treatment. However, the two were discharged on Wednesday morning.
Banni festival is observed on the night of Vijayadasami. Thousands of people from nearby villages take out processions celebrating the death of two demons who tortured the saints at Devaragattu. According to the legend, Lord Prameswara killed the demons. However, before their death, the demons prayed to the Lord to give them human sacrifice annually. According to locals, instead of accepting the demon’s request, the lord offered a fistful of blood. And thus ‘Karrala Samaram’ took form. Whatever blood is spilt during the stick fight is considered an offering to the god.
Kurnool Superintendent of Police Fakeerappa Kaginelli said that the number of people has almost gone up by 10% when compared with previous years. “Even though the crowd is bigger, we managed to keep the injured at minimum,” said the SP. He added that over one lakh people had attended the event on Tuesday.
The police had deployed over 1,000 officers to make sure that the festival is carried out smoothly. The SP added that injuries have all been minor because the sticks used by the villagers did not have an iron ring attached to it. Apart from the personnel deployment, the police had also installed CCTV cameras and conducted various awareness meets to ensure that very few number of people are injured.