Berhampur, October 25 (Local Wire) Devastating cyclone Titli and subsequent floods could not dampen the spirit of celebration of Kumar Purnami- the festival of youth in Ganjam district on Wednesday.
Most of the youths across the flood-ravaged districts were seen engaged themselves in gambling-stated to be a part of the celebration of the festival.
The law prohibiting gambling took a backseat in the district on the day of Kumar Purnami, when the night-long gambling almost became a part of the celebration for the people over the years.
While Goddess of Mahalaxmi (Goddess of Wealth) is worshipped during the daytime, gambling dominates the festive night.
Even parents asked their children to go and gamble on Kumar Purnima day. They provide the money for the purpose. Many people of the district believe Mahalaxmi can be invoked only through gambling on this day and go for gambling wearing new clothes.
Gambling goes on for several days, in most villages during the festival, observed five days after Dussehra.
Often it begins during the run-up to Dussehra and continues till Diwali.
Older people say, the number of gambling dens in the district has fallen over the years.
“In the past, the people played under the open sky, but nowadays they play indoors from the fear of the police,” said Rabindra Kumar Sahu, a contractor.
As the occasion is a tradition and social event, local police take a liberal view on gambling on this night inside the house, said a senior police officer.
The gambling in the public places and in an organized way could not be permitted, said Brijesh Kumar Rai, SP (Ganjam).
“There will be no laxity in policing on a festive night and police officials have instructed to crackdown the gambling dens in public places,” he said
The police have already arrested over 500 gamblers in a week.