Andhra Pradesh

Banni festival: tension mounts at Devaragattu

Police personnel and revenue officials taking stock of the situation at Devaragattu village on Monday   | Photo Credit: U_SUBRAMANYAM

The annual Banni Utsavam - 2020 at Devaragattu Mala Malleswaram Swamy Temple has been banned by the State government in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the backdrop of the ban, over 1,200 police personnel were deployed in the village in Aluru constituency, while tension prevailed in the area on Monday evening.

Superintendent of Police Fakkeerappa Kaginelli said anyone found with sticks or torches would be booked. All liquor shops were closed down in the border region of Karnataka and RTC bus services to the area suspended. All roads leading to Devaragattu were closed by erecting 15 checkpoints.

“All rituals as part of kalyanam will be allowed only with the main organisers participating in it, but none from outside will be allowed to participate in the traditional fight with sticks in the light of ‘Kagadas’ will not be allowed,” he added. Even as police clampdown continues, people are making all preparations for making of the torches, and people from several villages in Karnataka were eagerly waiting to enter the region from the hillocks. Drone cameras and 100 CCTV cameras were installed in the region.

People from three different villages form into two groups and fight with each other with sticks fitted with metal rings to secure the ceremonial statues, as they believe development will take place in the village that secures the statues. More than one lakh devotees took part in the festival last year.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 12:13:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/banni-festival-tension-mounts-at-devaragattu/article32947272.ece

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