At least 34 Danduas, main actors of popular seasonal folk dance Danda Nata, have been arrested from several villages in Odishas Ganjam district for allegedly trying to perform by violating the lockdown norms imposed to prevent the spread COVID-19, police said on Thursday.
While nine Danduas were arrested from two different villages in Gangapur area by police on Wednesday, 15 performers from Hinjili and 10 from Purushottampur areas were arrested earlier this week, a police official said.
While five Danduas were arrested from Palaksandha village, and four Danduas were held from Netenga village under Gangapur area on Wednesday.
They were arrested before the performances began, the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Bhanjanagar, S S Mishra, said.
They were arrested for flouting the orders of the district administration relating to the ongoing nationwide lockdown, the SDPO said.
The Ganjam district administration has prohibited the performance of Danda Nada in the district this year in a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19.
All these people from different villages in Gangapur, Hinjili and Purushottampur areas of the district have been arrested for trying to attract large gatherings by planning performances in violation of the lockdown guidelines, a senior police officer said.
The participants of the seasonal folk dance, known as Danduas, believe that Gods and Goddesses will fulfil their desires and wishes if they inflict physical suffering upon themselves.
People in groups roll on the hot dust, while some of them sing to the beats of drums, as part of the performance.
The performance which lasts for 21 days and 13 days in some places, and ends on the day of ”Maha Visubah Sankranti”.
The scene, however, is missing this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Several Danda Nata committees have decided not to organise the event as per orders of the district administration.