Monday February 27 2006 09:02 IST
GUNTUR: Violence marked Sivaratri celebrations in Guntur district forcing the police to open fire in the air. A devotee waiting in a queue at Amaralingeswara Swamy temple at Amaravati died of heart attack.
The Sivaratri celebrations started on a grand note in the district and people of different organisations and political parties vied with each other to take out decorative ‘prabhas’ and organised ‘traditional’ recording dances.
The trouble started when a posse of policemen reached Vejendla and arrested eight dancers. When the police tried to shift the dancers the villagers injured two constables and a homeguard.
At this juncture Chebrole sub-inspector AV Suresh Kumar reached the village and opened fire in air to disperse the unruly crowd, said Tenali DSP K Devendra Rao.
Meanwhile, it is alleged that an MLA pressurised the police officials to release the dancers.
The devotees thronged the Siva kshetrams including Amaravati and Kotappakonda since early hours of on Sunday. A devotee P Brahmam of Piduguralla village died of heart attack while waiting in a queue at Amaralingeswara temple in Amaravati.
The Sivaratri festive mood gripped Kotappakonda, the abode of Lord Trikoteswaraswamy.
Mukteswaraswamy temple at Morta, Balakoteswara Swamy temple at Govada and Buggamalleswara Swamy temple at Machavaram villages also wore a festive look.
Trikoteswarasamy temple was jam-packed with devotees queing up for darshan since early morning. Holy dips, serpentine queues and special poojas marked the Sivaratri celebrations at this famous Siva’s shrine.
Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana, former minister Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, MPs Mekapati Rajamohana Reddy, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Sattenapalli MLA Y Venkateswara Reddy and Endowments principal secretary D C Rosaiah visited Kotappakonda and performed pujas.
Endowments deputy commissioner N Vijaykumar and executive officer M Balaram Naik supervised the arrangements.
The police led by DSP Pridhvinarayana made arrangements to prevent untoward incidents during the festival.
The police warned devotees against pick-pockets and appealed devotees to take necessary precautions.
Over one lakh devotees reached the shrine to have a darshan of the presiding deity. Women performed ‘metla puja’. The exhibition organised by various departments, cultural programmes and ‘Prabhas’ attracted the devotees.