Rajahmundry: Cockfights held with renewed vigour
Rajahmundry: Despite tall claims of the police to have curbed cockfights during the three days of Sankranti festival, they continued unabated as the organisers, mostly politicos, condu-cted them in parts of Godavari districts, with renewed vigour. With elections around the corner, it was imperative for them to impress upon a section of voters to favour the ruling Telugu Desam.
Though the police initiated a series of measures by booking hundreds of cases on those who raise and train cocks and tie knives to the talons of fighting cocks and also on those who get involved in gambling under relevant provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and AP Gaming Act, 1974, they seemed to have remained mute spectators during the three days of Sankranti festival by allowing conduct of cockfights with indiscriminate betting at several places in Godavari districts.
Meanwhile, the organisers had taken up some safety norms by conducting cockfights with betting and also other games like Gundata and gambling but no liquor and other illegal activities were allowed to avoid trouble from the police.
Those who witnessed the cockfights confessed that unlike earlier days where the cockfights used to be organised in select places by some people at the behest of politicians, this year they were organised at several places. The organisers erected small pandals and released fighting roosters in rings with their talons fixed with two-edge knives with spectators watching in joy while the gamblers went on betting huge amount of money.
As the fights lasted for a few minutes, huge amounts of money changed hands in no time and even got over soon, with no trace of police personnel in the vicinity.
Though some politicians were clever enough to avoid direct participation in cockfights to avoid trouble from the High Court, some openly organised and took part in such fights to prove their mettle that they could organise such fights despite restrictions.
On the other hand, the police had booked several cases and had also detained several persons and even arrested a few so that they could claim before the High Court that they had made all out efforts to curb them given the number of cases booked and persons arrested.