This time, cockfights in two Godavari districts began since the morning on Friday. (AP file photo)
KAKINADA: In spite of the vigorous campaign against cockfights on the occasion of Sankranti carried out by the police in villages, the three-day festival began with a bang on Friday.
In some villages in West Godavari district, the people braved the rain and made merry. The prize cocks with knives fixed to them were dropped onto the ground for the fight. In most of the villages, cockfights were accompanied by gambling like Gundata, playing of cards, Singam game – of coins tossed in the air. The gamblers bet on either head or tail.
Betting was heavy and there was free flow of liquor at the venues. Crores of rupees changed hands. Last year, there was tension till afternoon on the festival day as the government did not give any word to the police and revenue officials.
This time, cockfights in two Godavari districts began since the morning on Friday.
In many places, ruling party MLAs participated in the events by releasing the prize-cocks onto the ground for the fight. Anaparti MLA Suryanarayana participated in a cockfight at Duppalapudi village in Anaparthi mandal and dropped the prize-cock for the fight. BC welfare minister Srinivasa released the prize-cock at Ramachandrapuram.
The police that have campaigned vigorously for the past 20 days, was conspicuous by their absence at the cockfight game. Crores of rupees changed hands by way of betting.
Cockfights were organised in every village in Yalamanchili mandal of West Godavari districts. Thousands of people participated in the cockfight and other gambling games. Youths and children also thronged the venues. Curiously, one event was held near the Yalamanchili police station as also at Jangareddygudem, Perampeta, Lakkavaram and other villages.
According to sources, the organisers collected Rs 7.50 lakh to hold two games --Gundata and Singam gambling games in Gadimoga Panchayat that has five hamlets. The betting takes place at a minimum collection of Rs 5 crore in each venue in these two Godavari districts.
Fake notes created a flutter at some venues in Konaseema area. The betting is taking on a high profile at Prathipadu, Tallarevu, Sankhavaram, Anaparti, Tallarevu, Bhimavaram, Jangareddygudem, Palakollu, Poduru, Kamavarapukota, Kovvuru, Jangareddygudem, Kukkunuru, Velerupadu, Chinturu, VR Puram, Peddapuram, Samalkot, Pithapuram, Razole, P Gannavaram, Allavaram, Katrenikona, Uppalaguptam and other mandals in the Godavari districts.