Over 400 injured in traditional `Gotmar’ festival

Over 400 injured in traditional `Gotmar’ festival
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CHHINDWARA (MP): As many as 462 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, in the annual `Gotmar’ (stone-pelting) festival at Pandhurna in the district on Tuesday, police said.
Three persons, whose condition was critical, were rushed to Nagpur for treatment, District Superintendent of Police Gaurav Tiwari told PTI.
Police also fired teargas shells when people turned unruly and damaged an ambulance and a police vehicle.
During the annual Gotmar festival, people of Sawargaon and Pandhurna gather on either side of the Jaam river, and race to snatch a flag hoisted atop a dead tree put up in the middle of the river while throwing stones at the other side.
Villagers of Pandhurna grabbed the flag this time and were declared winner.
The tradition is said to have started around 300 years ago when a boy from Pandhurna abducted a girl from Sawargaon, and faced a volley of stones when he was crossing the river with her. Villagers from Pandhurna came to his help, and he reached home safely with the girl, the legend goes.
However, this traditional sport has also claimed lives in the past as sometimes injuries suffered in stone-pelting prove to be fatal.

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