Police identifying leaders involved in cockfights

The police are on the job of identifying the people’s representatives, who had inaugurated and participated in the banned cockfights during the Sankranti festivities in violation of the High Court orders.

A few MLAs, MLCs, Members of Parliament, former MLAs, and other public representatives had formally inaugurated the cockfights by holding the fowls in their hands at many places on January 12 and 13.

A few leaders had given statements that cockfights were part of the Sankranti tradition and there was no harvest festival without them. Photographs of some leaders participating in the blood sport had been published in a few newspapers and videos telecast in some television channels.

The High Court, following a petition, had directed the government to take measures to stop cockfights in Andhra Pradesh.

Following the order, the government had constituted teams to enlighten the people against encouraging the blood sport.

The police had effectively controlled the sport at Vempa and Srirampuram, near Bhimavaram in West Godavari district, where the petitioner said the cockfights were rampant. Policing was found wanting in other places.

In some villages, the people’s representatives allegedly entered into an argument with the police when they tried to stop them. They allegedly pushed the policemen aside, entered the arenas, and inaugurated the banned sport.

Video footage

Following the directions of the High Court seeking details, the police are going through the video footage telecast by some private channels and newspaper clippings published during Sankranti.

The police concluded that cockfights had been conducted at 4,552 places in Andhra Pradesh from January 5 to 18. The number of cockfight arenas was highest in West Godavari district (2,494), followed by Krishna (1,010), and East Godavari (466).

The police had booked 3,228 cases against the organisers and arrested 7,123 persons. In all, 1,463 cases had been registered in Krishna district, 925 in East Godavari, and 634 in West Godavari. The police had also seized ₹5.37 crore during the raids and recovered 4,530 roosters and 6,865 knives.

Cockfights had also been conducted at 400 places in Guntur (rural) and at 150 arenas in Rajamahendravaram and other places.

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