MP: Over 150 injured, 3 critical, in Gotmar festival famous for stone-pelting

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Chhindwara: More than 150 persons were injured, three of them critically, on Saturday during the 'Gotmar' festival in Pandhurna in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. famous for people on either sides of a river raining stones on each other as a tradition passed down from an abduction incident of the past.

The stone-pelting ritual started some 300 years ago when a boy from Pandhurna abducted a girl from Sawargaon and faced a volley of stones while crossing the river with her, before his native villagers came to his rescue.

"A total of 158 persons were injured in the festival. Three of them are critical and have been hospitalised in Nagpur in neighbouring Maharashtra," Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Uikey said.

Security personnel were deployed at the site of the festival along with five doctors and other health staff, Uikey had informed earlier.

He had said drones were flown and cameras have been installed as part of the monitoring mechanism of the festival, which is conducted with section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in place at the venue.

During the Gotmar festival, people from Sawargaon and Pandhurna villages gather on either side of Jaam river and race to snatch a flag hoisted on a dead tree in the middle of the water body amid stone pelting from both sides.

Eyewitnesses said villagers from Pandhurna managed to grab the flag during this year's festival and were declared winners.

People have lost their lives and many sustained injuries in the festival over the years. PTI

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