Ahmednagar, May 10: Residents of two adjoining villages near Shirdi in Maharashtra indulge in stone-throwing as an annual feature. The superstititous villagers believe that such stone-throwing battle brings early rains and a good harvest to the area.
The villages are Savatsar and Kokamthane in Kopergaon tehsil, nearly 20 kilometres from Shirdi.
India TV correspondent Manoj Gadekar reports that the villagers residing near the Godavari river have been indulging in such stone-throwing for the last one hundred years.
The two-hour long stone-throwing begins on Akshay Trithiya day and continues for five days at a stretch. Men, young and old, take part in this bloody battle with fervour.
People injured in the stone-throwing are not taken to the local doctors but to the Lakshmi Mata and Khadoba temples, where the villagers apply holy ashes on the wounds.
The entire spectacle occurs in front of the local police who stand and watch as idle spectators. Their job is restricted to using their lathis to stop villagers from transgressing their boundaries. Travellers who go near the Godavari river at this time of the year after walking down from Nagpur-Mumbai highway also get injured occasionally.
The stone-throwing spectacle begins daily at 4 pm and ends at around 6 pm, when villagers from both sides hoist flags to stop the battle.
The local administration tried several times to persuade the villagers to abandon this superstitious practice, but the villagers have preferred to stick to this ritual.