Bird lovers seek fresh HC intervention against cockfights

Kakinada: Bird-lovers are seeking fresh High Court intervention on the cockfight issue in Andhra Pradesh. Though some police officials tried to curb the cruel traditional sport, politicians helped local groups to organise the cockfights.

The High Court had given a clear directive five years ago to curb cockfights when animal welfare organisations approached it. However, the event continued to take place during the Sankranti season every year.

In 2018, the high court took the matter suo moto and issued notices to 17 people’s representatives including 9 MP, several MLAs and MLCs, ZPTCs, sarpanches, MPTCs etc. The then Kakinada MP Thota Venkata Narasimham, the then MLAs SVSN Varma, Bode Prasad, Bonda Uma Maheswara Rao, Datla Buchiraju, Ganni Veeranjaneyulu, MLCs and Y. Rajendra Prasad and Buddha Venkanna were among them.

In response, these public representatives wrote to the High Court, promising it that they would not participate in or organise cockfights in future.

Animal welfare organisations wrote letters to all the collectors and SPs of districts in Andhra Pradesh, appealing to them to curb cockfights. The revenue and police officials have encouraged traditional games like Rangavalli, volleyball and various sports up to Jan 13 and distributed prizes. They also destroyed cockfight grounds, booked bind-over cases to guard against cockfights, Gundata and other gambling games. But they turned silent from January 13.

Konaseema SP Sudheer Reddy gave strict directions to the police to act against cockfights and other gambling games. Irritated over this, the Konaseema MLAs led by transport minister P. Viswaroop brought the issue to the notice of government adviser Sajjala Ramakrishna and others and facilitated tacit clearances for the cockfights.

Kothapeta MLA Chirla Jagirredy did not allow a police official into the cockfight ground. He made it clear to the police that a case could be filed against him, but the cockfights should not be blocked. Anaparti MLA Sathi Suryanarayana Reddy also warned the police officials against entering the cockfight grounds, saying police presence could lead to law and order problems. In these circumstances, cockfights could not be checked by the police.

SP Sudheer Reddy’s attempts to check cockfights were stonewalled by the YSRC high command itself. However, he did not allow Gundata and other gambling games, said animal rescue/welfare organisation secretary Gopal Surabathula. He said that Eluru and Konaseema SPs tried to curb the cockfights. "Evidence is being gathered about cockfights and other gambling games to present these before the high court," he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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