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In pictures: A temple in Andhra where devotees go to kill or be killed Prasad Nichena

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There is a temple in Andhra Pradesh where devotees go all equipped to kill or be killed. Every Dussehra night, the Devaragattu temple in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh witnesses frenzy where hundreds of men wielding long sticks (lathis) hit each other on heads.

The event, called Banni festival, at the temple located near the Andhra-Karnataka border, draws people from both states in huge numbers. The ritual takes place at midnight when the procession idols of the ruling deities Malamma (Parvati) and Malleshwara Swamy (Shiva) are brought down the hill temple at Neraneki.

Men, mostly farmers, do not budge even as their white shirts are drenched red with blood and the “victory parade” to commemorate the killing of a demon by Mala-Malleshwara continues till the break of dawn.

The records though do not show many deaths. According to the district police 113 were injured in 2012, 34 in 2013. On Friday night, 56 were injured. A man was killed in 2006 but police say it was a revenge killing committed with the ritual as a cover-up.

Kurnool SP Ake Ravikrishna says that they conduct awareness camps, clampdown on arrack sale and bind over the anti-social elements but on the Dussehra night, about 1,000 police personnel at the venue are mostly limited to the audience as the sentiments and tempers run high.

In pictures: A temple in Andhra where devotees go to kill or be killed - Hindustan Times

I suppose there must be some scripture to support this practice, and there will be supporters in this site in the name of tradition.

I think it is abhorring and should be modified or stopped in the name of reducing violence. I know other religions follow bizarre cruel practice, but that is not a justification for stupidity or ignorance.


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