KAKINADA: It has become a great challenge for politicians in East and West Godavari Districts to organise cockfights during this Sankranti season. It is also the time for them to flex their muscles and show how powerful they are by being able to procure unauthorised permissions for cockfights. On the other hand, it is also a big blow for cockfight organisers as the Supreme Court has dismissed the petition of Mr Raghurama Krishnam Raju who challenged the High Court order.
According to the traditionalists, cockfights are a very prestigious sport during the three days of Sankranti. Every year they are able to conduct the cockfights, with the police turning a blind eye. But this time with the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s directive to the state government to submit an ‘action taken report’ by January 22, the government is not taking any chances. The police therefore is very strictly adhering to the prohibitory orders under Section 144. Furthermore the High Court has instructed the Andhra Pradesh state government to clarify what steps have been taken against the 43 tahasildars and station house officers for allowing cockfights in their respective areas during last Sankranti.
Sources said that for the first time, the police officials are appealing to the people not to participate or organise gambling games. The police officials under their police station limits are also setting up flex boards and banners campaigning against the cockfights. “People can enjoy Sankranti along with their family members, but, they should not participate, organise or encourage the cockfights or any other gambling games during Sankranti” said the East Godavari superintendent of police, Mr Vishal Gunni.
West Godavari superintendent of police Mr M. Ravi Prakash has instructed police officials strictly not to allow any gambling during Sankranti. The police of West Godavari have already started conducting raids on cockfights and other gambling games and have also started counseling organisers and gamblers. District collector Mr Karthikeya Misra has set up joint committees with the police, animal husbandry and prohibition and excise and revenue officials to curb cockfights. The Kakinada RDO Mr L. Raghubabu issued orders that nobody should organise or participate in cockfights or any other gambling games. Otherwise stringent action would be taken against them under criminal Acts.