Barmy revellers ignore distancing rules to attend cow poo-throwing festival

Hundreds of revellers gathered at New Year celebrations in India to sling cow poo at each other.

The barmy scenes were part of a large street festival which is held each year, known as the Ugadi Celebrations.

Many of those taking part did not wear masks and social distancing practices set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) appeared to go out the window.

Such was the ferocity of some of the cow poo slinging that almost 100 people were injured, including some elderly pensioners.

The mammoth display of poo throwing back and forth is in honour of the married Indian deities, Lord Veerabhadra and Goddess Kalika.

Villagers re-enact a fight between the two Gods by splitting into two teams and lobbing cow dung cakes each other – the cow pats are prepared at least a month in advance to ensure they are in perfect form

Locals believe the annual fight, and then its peaceful conclusion each year, will bring peace, health and prosperity to the people.

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The manic ritual takes place in the village of Kairuppala in Kurnool, south India, and is traditionally held a day after the lunar new year.

On Wednesday (April 14) as part of the celebrations donkeys were also paraded through the packed streets under the belief it will encourage good fortune.

Local doctor Anil Kumar said: "It's a grave situation. We need to take care of our community as well.

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"Such crowds result in people infecting others and this is where things could turn out of hand if social distancing is not maintained."

India is currently experiencing its second wave of coronavirus with cases now reaching at least 200,000-a-day.

So far the country has witnessed around 173,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic last March.

The WHO recommends that there is a one-metre minimum distance between people but at the festival this was ignored.

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