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Police’s casual approach : Cockfights in full swing in AP despite curbs

VIJAYAWADA: Organisers of cock fights had a field day in several parts of the State as they conducted the blood sport although police had stepped up vigilance to curb illegal activities with casual approach alleged BRS AP Associate Convener Thota Nageshwar Rao .

Despite the high court order banning cock fights, crores of rupees exchanged hands as cockfights were conducted across NTR, Krishna, Eluru, West Godavari, East Godavari, Dr BR Ambedkar Konaseema, Kakinada, Rajamahendravaram, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and other districts across the State allegedly with the backing of political leaders. However, the quantum of the money exchanged is not known.

Poking fun at law-enforcing authorities, organisers made grand arrangements. It has been reported that leaders belonging to the ruling YSRC inaugurated the cockfights. Men, women and kids thronged the arenas in large numbers to watch the blood sport, which is considered as a part of the harvest festival.

In anticipation of heavy rush, organisers had pitched tents, arranged barricades, even deployed bouncers and erected fencing as part of crowd control measures. LED screens were set up in agriculture fields for people to watch the sport. Tipplers had a fun day as liquor was being sold at a few places.

Celebrations were conducted on a large-scale in Godavari districts, including Kakinada, Dr BR Ambedkar Konaseema and Bhimavaram.

“Cockfights are the biggest attractions in Godavari and parts of Krishna and Guntur districts during the three-day Sankranti festival. My family and I have come to Bhimavaram all the way from Bengaluru to witness the game live,” Bhavya, a techie, said.

It was reported that BC Welfare minister Ch Venugopala Krishna, Kothapeta MLA Chirla Jaggireddy, Razole MLA Rapaka Varaprasad and Anaparti MLA Suryanarayana Reddy inaugurated cockfights and said anyone may organise cultural cockfight without tying knives to the roosters.

Punters, including those who came from Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and other cities, bet on the roosters. Bids on each rooster ranged anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 5 lakh.

It has been reported that police officers in some places allowed cockfights on the condition that they were organised in a traditional manner, meaning without tying knives to the roosters. “However, the request was flouted openly soon after we left,” a police official said.

DGP Kasireddy Rajendranath Reddy was unavailable to comment on the matter. In Krishna district, film director VV Vinayak participated in the bullock cart race organised by former minister Kodali Nani.