Dehradun: Kumaon on Friday celebrated 'Bagwal' festival in which people hurl stones at each other in front of the Warahi Devi temple in Champawat district, injuring more than 200 persons.

Thousands of people participated in the festival after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 230 people suffered injuries as some of the participating groups called 'clans' hurled stones at each other instead of fruits and flowers as directed by the district administration, officials said. At least three of those injured had to be referred to higher centres, they said.

Despite a ban on using stones, the locals manage to sneak into the fight with stones, they added.

The festival began aeons ago as a bloodletting ritual to please the presiding goddess.

Earlier, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who is an MLA from Champawat inaugurated the fair in which people use stones to celebrate this unique festival. 'Bagwal' which means a fight with stones has been one of the most sought-after fairs of the region for ages.

The participants in the fight are called 'Ranbankuras', who sporting headbands and carrying bamboo shields, gather at Dubachaur field in front of the Warahi Devi temple in Devidhura village to start the mock fight. —PTI 

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