Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district police have cancelled the Devaragattu stick fighting festival called Banni Utsavam in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
"True, it has been cancelled. This year we are not celebrating in view of Covid restrictions. Necessary preventive actions have been taken," Kurnool Superintendent of Police (SP) Fakkeerappa Kaginelli confirmed to IANS.
People from the village, vicinity, nearby districts and also neighbouring states descend on Devaragattu around midnight on Vijayadasami to celebrate the Banni festival in their own unique way by hitting each other hard with sticks.
Many people bleed and suffer injuries during the hitting fest.
The hitting festivities are part of the Sri Mala Malleswara Swamy temple located on top of a hill.
However, considering the Covid pandemic, police have cancelled the festival and deployed more than 1,200 policemen, including setting up 20 check-posts.
"Since 15 days we have been educating the local people and also people from neighbouring districts and states about the restrictions," added Kaginelli.
Police have also taken out awareness campaigns.