Uttarakhand: 75 injured in Kumaon’s ‘stone-pelting’ festival | Dehradun News

Spread the love

PITHORAGARH: At least 75 people suffered injuries as devotees at Devidhura temple in Uttarakhand’s Champawat district pelted stones at each other for eight minutes to celebrate the annual ‘Bagwal’ festival. The injured were later treated at a medical camp.
The festival is celebrated on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan and blood is shed to appease the presiding deity, Barahi Devi. Four local clans — Walik, Chamyal, Lamgaria and Gaherwal — participate in the ritual on the temple grounds every year.
In 2013, the Uttarakhand high court had ordered that the festival be celebrated with fruits and flowers, instead of stones. The directions have largely been ignored by the locals who believe that lack of “blood sacrifice” to the deity would invite disaster.
“We start Bagwal with fruits and have instructed devotees to not use stones, but they persist because of their strong belief in this matter,” said a member of the temple committee.
According to folklore, when demons attacked Devidhura, the four clans prayed to the goddess to save them. She agreed, but asked for a human sacrifice every year in return. Later, the goddess showed mercy and told the clans that they could throw stones at each other to spill blood equivalent to a human sacrifice.
Consequently, a large number of people end up getting injured during the festivities every year. In 2019, more than 120 people were injured while the number was 60 in 2018. Last year, strict Covid related restrictions meant that the festival was largely “symbolic”.
This year, as well, Covid protocol was followed during the celebrations, said Anil Garvyal, sub-divisional magistrate of Lohaghat. “All participants had to produce a Covid-19 negative report. Camps were held near the temple on August 20 and 21 to facilitate Covid testing,” he said.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: