At least 75 people They were injured and treated last Sunday during the celebration of the annual Indian festival of Bagwal, during which members of rival groups throw stones at each other for eight minutes, informs The Times of India.
The event takes place in a temple in the city of Devidhura, in the state of Uttarakhand. Participants come from four local clans — Walik, Chamyal, Lamgaria, and Gaherwal — and engage in battle with stones and sticks. The fight continues until a priest determines that enough blood has been shed in honor of the goddess Maa Barahi and demands to stop the fight.
To protect themselves, participants can use wooden shields, but still many are injured each year.
In 2013, the Uttarakhand High Court ruled that instead of stones were used flowers and fruits, but the participants in the festival ignored this decision, considering that the lack of blood would anger the goddess and cause a catastrophe.
“No warrior is forced to participate in Bagwal. We do it voluntarily to appease our goddess “, said in that context Trilok Singh, leader of the Gaherwal clan, quoted by The Hindu. “We are not going to end our traditions by order of a district administration. Offering our blood to the goddess is important to us. We consider our wounds to be blessings,” he said.
The ritual is based on a belief, according to which Devidhura was once invaded by demons and the four mentioned clans prayed to Barahi to save people. The goddess agreed to do so, but asked in exchange for it to be done. a human sacrifice every year. Then, however, Barahi allowed local residents to throw stones at each other, so that the blood shed in the process would replace the sacrifice.
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