Chhindwara/Nagpur: The traditional but hazardous contest – Gotmar – claimed one life in Pandhurna. A youth was killed while more than 600 people including 15 seriously were reportedly injured in the Gotmar Mela or fair held on Monday. In the bloody tradition, two villages, Pandhurna and Sawargaon participate in a stone pelting competition against each other.
The deceased youth has been identified as 23-year-old Shankar Zingu Bhalavi, resident of Bhumari in Pandhurna. Shankar received fatal injuries on chest by the pelted stones and succumbed to injuries. A vehicle transporting security personnel turned turtle injuring four constables. It is after a gap of seven years that a death has occurred during the dangerous competition of pelting stones held between two villages – Pandhurna and Savargaon on the second day of Pola festival. The injured were taken to medical camps set up in the village and the seriously injured were referred to Nagpur.
Gotmar Mela is a 400-year old fatal tradition as it has gone on to kill many lives and severely injure the people who have practised it in the past. People from both the villages gather on either side of the local Jaam river and attack the opponent side, villagers on the other end of the river.
The 15 injured who were rushed to the hospital were in serious condition and 5 were critical, battling for their lives in a hospital at Nagpur. The body of the youth was sent for post-mortem to verify the reason he died as reportedly, there were no signs of a visible injury. It is possible that the youth may have died due to a cardiac arrest or some other reason.