Cockfight organisers seek leniency

While the police is set to crack down on such illegal fights, organisers defend the event, say that it has been a tradition.

Rajahmundry: While the police has sent out strong signals that it would crack down on cockfights and has even booked many cases recently, some people in the Godavari districts are planning to approach Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to get a relaxation for at least the three festive days of January 13 to 15.

“As the police is booking cases against organisers indiscriminately, we have to seek the CM’s intervention to instruct them to be lenient during Sankranti. Only then can we organise and enjoy the cockfights,” a Congress leader from Akiveedu said.

Cockfights are synonymous with the Kshatriya community in several parts of the region. The sport has become so popular in the region that not a single politician from any major political parties is an exception to it. Some are involved directly while others offer passive support.

According to a conservative estimate, between Rs 300 crore and Rs 600 crore will be gambled in both the districts during the three days of the festival. In addition, huge amounts of money will be spent in making arrangements to conduct the fights in a grand manner. Reports indicate that even large amounts of fake currency are circulated during these fights.

Politicians like Sriranganatha Raju, Pathapati Sarraju, Gokaraju Rama Raju, Abbai Raju, Muthyala Ratnam and many others are actively involved in cockfights while Narasapuram Congress MP and TTD Board chairman Kanumuri Bapiraju and some other Congress ministers offer passive support.

The local politicians, meanwhile, defend the event by saying that it has been a tradition for ages and has drawn the attention of law-enforcing officials only after huge amounts of money started being gambled by landlords, businessmen and industrialists. The organisers also say that it is no fun to watch cockfights unless money is involved. Some have even asked for a kabaddi stadium in Narasapuram to be allocated for the fights.

Though the police claims to crack down on organisers by booking cases and seizing cocks and knives, the conviction rate is relatively low. Moreover, by the time the cops arrive, the organisers usually flee leaving the cocks to be seized.

Veterinary experts maintain that there is a huge demand for the meat of such fighting cocks. West Godavari animal husbandry joint director K. Gyaneswar said, “The rich nutritious diet being given to the cocks and the rigorous training, including swimming, help it develop muscular bodies.”

The birds that die in the fights are also in high demand for their meat. A dead cock, which weighs about two kg costs between Rs 300 and Rs 1,500 unlike a normal bird, which costs between Rs 150 and Rs 250.

Probable guests for the fight include actors Prabhas, U.V. Krishnam Raju, comedian Sunil, producer P.K. Varma, among others.

Next: Fighter cocks auctioned at courts

Fighter cocks auctioned at courts

Nalla Ram | DC

Visakhapatnam: If you are looking to buy a sturdy cock for ‘Natukodi Kura’, courts in the city and other parts of the district are the best places to go during the pre- and post- Sankranti season. And you can definitely get them for cheap.

Fighting roosters seized from gamblers at various places seem to be a hit among advocates, relatives of policemen and a few other visitors, queuing up to buy them when they are auctioned after being produced in a court.

Fighting cocks are usually produced in the courts along with those accused of organising cockfights. The court then orders for an auction of the seized cocks which is done in the court complex itself. While in the market, the cost of the seized roosters could be worth anywhere near Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, prices mostly don’t cross a thousand rupees in the auction.

According to the Crime Records Bureau, the police had rounded up around 700 people and rescued about 900 roosters involved in illegal cockfights at Bheemili, Padmanabham, Madhurawada and Anandapuram areas in Vizag and other parts of the district. The auction of the roosters fetched around Rs 9 lakh, which was deposited in the state treasury in 2013. The 700 gamblers were let off after they paid a fine of Rs 100 each.

The fighting roosters are usually fed cashew nuts, almonds and different varieties of millets to make them strong and tough. This makes their meat tastier, thereby increasing their demand, explained an advocate.

Police sources said that in rare cases, relatives of the owners of the roosters bid for the birds to keep them alive for the next season of the cockfights. So far, no bird has been seized in the district in the first three days of January. Special police teams have been formed to stop the sport and rescue birds.

( Source : dc )
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