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Banni Festival Tragedy: Two Dead and Dozens Injured in Kurnool’s Annual Event

banni festival, festivals 2023

Two individuals lost their lives, and approximately 40 people sustained injuries during the Banni festivals 2023 in Devaragattu village, situated in the Kurnool district.

This incident occurred on October 25, as confirmed by a police official.

The tragic deaths occurred when two festivalgoers fell from a tree branch while attempting to escape a flaming torch that had been inadvertently thrown in their direction.

The Banni festival is an annual event observed in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kurnool’s Superintendent of Police, G Krishnakanth, provided further details, stating, “Two persons died after somebody unintentionally threw a flaming torch towards the tree, and they fell trying to escape it.”

He explained that several individuals had climbed onto tree branches in an attempt to get a better view of the festivities.

In addition to the fatalities, over 40 people sustained injuries during the traditional stick fight, which is a vital component of the Banni festival.

Furthermore, another individual lost their life due to natural causes, according to the police official, and this individual was from Karnataka.

The Banni festival is traditionally held at midnight each year, featuring a stick fight organized as part of the Dussehra/Dasara celebrations at the Mala Malleswara Swamy Temple, located atop a hillock.

Despite police orders to cease the stick fight, the villagers maintain that it is an integral part of their cultural tradition.

During the annual celebrations, people from different villages divide into two groups and engage in a spirited stick fight to secure the idols of the deities Mallamma and Malleswara Swamy following their ceremonial wedding, which takes place at midnight.

This year, the event saw heightened enthusiasm among the participants, and police attempts to prevent the fight proved ineffective.

The villagers’ commitment to this tradition remains unwavering, despite authorities’ efforts to dissuade them from organizing the stick fight.

They believe that the festival commemorates Lord Shiva’s transformation into Bhairava, who defeated two demons, Mani and Mallasura, using sticks.

Villagers reenact this scene on Vijayadashami day, with groups competing to take control of the idols.

The Banni festivals 2023 attracts thousands of attendees from various parts of Kurnool, neighboring districts, and even nearby states like Telangana and Karnataka who gather in the village to witness this traditional and culturally significant event.

Artical By: Sai Kiran

Published On: 26th, October 2023


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