Kodi Kathi claims two lives on cockfight grounds in Andhra Pradesh

KAKINADA: Kodi Kathi, the knife tied to prize cocks, claimed one each lives in two incidents during the traditional sport cockfight in Kakinada and East Godavari districts on the Sankranti festival day.

An 18-year-old youth, P. Padma Rao of Ananthapalli village in Nallajerla mandal of East Godavari district, died as a prize cock with kodi kathi tied to it jumped on him. The knife pierced through his body leading to his death in a hospital. The Nallajarla police registered a case.

In Vellanki village of Kirlampudi mandal in Kakinada district, a 45-year-old person, Suresh, died as a prize cock jumped on him. He was guarding the entrance to the cockfight ground. He died at the government hospital in Prathipadu.

As usual and by ignoring a High Court directive, the cockfights were organised for three days from Bhogi to Kanuma, the final day of the Sankranti festival on Monday. Crores of rupees changed hands in the cockfights and the related gambling games like Gundata, playing of cards etc.

In some places, police stopped the illegal activities, even as many people thronged the cockfight grounds to play Gundata and engage in other gambling games. Liquor also was sold in huge quantities at the gambling dens.

Cine producer and director Ram Gopal Varma along with actress Hema, Pujitha and director Kurasala Kalyan Krishna attended the cockfight event at Valasapakala village in Kakinada rural mandal.

In some places, the organisers were worried as they got only a limited response. Gamblers did not attend the events at the grounds near Madhurapudi etc. The gamblers went to other grounds.

Clashes erupted between the organisers near Narendrapuram in Rajanagaram mandal of East Godavari district.

The police department faced criticism over its failure to avert cockfights. When the Sankranti festival began on the first day of Bhogi, the police kept silent. Then they conducted some raids.

Kakinada SP Ravindranath said several Gundata tents were removed and gambling boards seized by the police at Pithapuram, Kotananduru, G.Medapadu, Tirumali, Siripuram, Kattamuru, Valasapakala, Annnavaram of Rowthulapudi mandal, Penuguduru, Gurajanapalli, Dharmavaram, Vommangi, Uttarakanchi, Sampara, Godarigunta in Kakinada, Uppangala in Tallarevu mandal and other villages.

The police of Eluru district, under the instructions of SP Rahul Dev Sarma, prevented gambling games and booked cases against gamblers.

Kakinada DSP Ravindranath said 550 persons were arrested in this connection in Kakinada district. He said 250 cases were booked and 266 prize cocks, 266 cockfight knives (Kodi Kathi) and a total cash of Rs 2,67,810 were seized in the past three days. He said Gundata boards, playing cards etc were seized and the gambling tents and other infra destroyed in raids.

Some 299 persons were arrested and 134 cases booked against cockfights. Some 116 cases were booked and 251 persons arrested in connection with the gambling games like Gundata, he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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