Bloody ‘Banni fight’ remains as popular as ever

Kurnool: Devaragattu village in Holagonda mandal spills blood every Dasara when the good lot takes up cudgels against demons out to snatch idols from their village.

Called ‘Banni fight’ or Karrala Samaraam, the showdown draws huge crowds from Karnataka and Telangana State. A feature of the ‘fight’ is that the participants wielding sticks menacingly surge towards their enemies and thrash them indiscriminately, resulting in bloodshed. Over one lakh people are estimated to gather at Devaragattu hills to watch the traditional stick-fight in the wee hours of Friday.

Legend has it that Lord Shiva took the form of Bhairava and clobbered two demons, Mani and Mallasura, with sticks. Hundreds lost their lives and blood flowed in streams during the fight. Devaragattu locals enact that scene during Dasara.

The battle starts at the stroke of midnight. People stream in from neighboring villages like Neradiki, Neradiki Thanda and Kothapet carrying idols of Mala Malleswara Swamy to participate in the festivities. On the demons’ side are people drawn from Ellarthy, Arikeri, Maddigeri, Nitranatta and Sulavai villages. They try to snatch the idols from God's team and a battle breaks out. On an average every year, about 300 persons receive bloody injuries in the fight. But no one complains. On this Dasara day, all is well in these villages.

Temple chairman Gummanur Sreenivasulu told the media that they were making all arrangements to organize Banni fight festival on grand note while duly following Covid-19 guideline.

The district administration has been focussing on controlling the stick-fight given the directions of the Human Rights Commission.

District collector P Koteswara Rao along with SP Ch Sudheer Kumar Reddy visited Devaragattu nearly thrice to inspect the arrangements. The district collector told police officials to take steps to ensure a peaceful conduct of Karrala Samaram.

Schedule: October 15: Banni fight conducted at midnight of Viajaya Dashmi; October 16: Sri Mala Malleswara swamy to predict the future (Bavishya Vani) and October 17: Swamy Ammavari Rathotsavam.


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