Administration of the traditional fish ‘prasadam' by the Bathini Goud family concluded around 10.45 p.m. on Thursday at the Exhibition Grounds here. Hundreds of asthma patients waited for their turn to swallow the live murrel fish containing the yellow herbal paste in its mouth.

The 24-hour programme commenced last night coinciding with the ‘mrigasira karti' which heralds the onset of monsoon.

According to the Fisheries Department about 37,500 fingerlings were sold on Thursday. During the next two days the fish ‘prasadam' would be given at the ancestral house of the Bathini family in Doodhbowli and Kavadiguda.

Harinath Goud, the Bathini family patriarch, expressed satisfaction at the smooth conduct of the annual event. “About two lakh persons availed the fish ‘prasdam' from different parts of the country and some from abroad,” he said.

Protest

The Andhra Pradesh Balala Hakkula Sangham, through a press release on Thursday, expressed its protest against the distribution of fish ‘prasadam' to children in “unhygienic conditions” despite the directions issued by the State Human Rights Commission to strictly ensure hygiene.

The sangham contended that the prasadam does not have scientific sanctity, and that those administering it are not medical professionals. By spreading contagious diseases among children, the distribution programme is violating children's rights, the note said.

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