150 hurt in Champawat’s stone throwing festival Bagwal
Devidhura/Champawat: Chief Minister Harish Rawat along with his senior ministers and the Assembly Speaker were present when 150 spectators were injured by stones thrown by the fighters of a group at the other at the Bagwal festival at Devidhura in Champawat district yesterday. “Initially, fruits were used in the Bagwal festival but later these were replaced by stones. It began at 2 pm and continued for seven minutes. Over 40 quintals of fruits such as peas and apple were used by opposing groups to hit the fighters of the other clan taking part in the traditional stone war,” said Bhaskar Murari, a journalist in Champawat reporting from Devidhura.
According to sources, the preparations for the festival began around 3 am when local devotees from the four clans and seven sub clans reached the Barahi Devi temple to worship her and offer her food. “After the ceremonial puja and offering of bhog, Barahi Devi’s idol was brought out in the open for common people to have darshan. It was later put to witness Bagwal that devotees play only to please her,” said Bhuwan Chandra, a priest at the Barahi Dham.
Bhuwan said the district administration had made elaborate arrangements to ensure security of VIPs and spectators. The place where Bagwal would be played had been barricaded and a company of the PAC along with other police forces had been deployed there.