Police fail to foil cockfights

ELURU/RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM:Despite a Supreme Court ban on cockfights, the ‘blood sport’ continued unabated in twin Godavari districts with crores of rupees gambled on them.It’s almost like a ‘jatara’ in the fields where arenas for the cockfights were arranged. Be it celebrities, women and children, none was an exception in considering the blood sport a part of the tradition of the harvest festival. At many places, MLAs, MLCs, and some celebrities inaugurated the fights in which NRIs from Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states participated.

Meanwhile, police raided several places in West Godavari district to stop the event. East Godavari Collector Karthikeya Mishra and SP Vishal Gunni held a video conference recently to curb the violent sport and set up police teams to crack down on cockfights in the State. Aiming to stop the events, 100 police teams were formed in Kakinada and 60 teams in Rajamahendravam. Recently, the Supreme Court had upheld the High Court’s order banning the violent sport. It noted that the ‘sport’ should be banned not just during Sankranti, but on all occasions.

West Godavari district witnessed unprecedented enthusiasm from the people, including women, who participated in betting and thronged the cockfight betting arenas in large numbers at Gundugolanu, Kommara and Gunnampalli in Bhimadole mandal and Dwaraka Tirumala.
More than 100 arenas have been set up in West Godavari district alone and another 60 to 70 in East Godavari district. Separate arenas ranging from `25,000 to `5 lakh were set up based on the betting amount.

While initial rounds were organised without tying the blades to the legs of the roosters, slowly they turned bloody as cocks fought to death while the crowds feasted on alcohol and their choicest foods made available at the arenas.

Such was the brazen conduct of the cockfights that the organisers in several areas of East and West Godavari districts even arranged live telecast of the blood sport using drone cameras. According to sources, the government had given permission to conduct cockfights until 5 pm on Tuesday.

The cockfights were also held at Koppaka village. Media was not allowed at the venue and the gunmen of Denduluru MLA and Government Whip Chintamaneni Prabhakar did not allow anyone to take pictures of cockfights. However, police claimed that no cockfights took place at Koppaka. Tollywood hero Sampoornesh Babu also witnessed the blood sport at Koppaka.

Around 10,000 people witnessed cockfights at Sisali in Kalla mandal on Tuesday.Violent cockfights with blades and knives fitted to the roosters and large scale betting went on unabatedly at Jangareddigudem, Chintalapudi, Lingapalem, Dharmajigudem, Pedavegi, Denduluru, Pedapadu and other villages.

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