Vijayawada: Disregarding police warnings and ban, arrangements were completed to organise cockfights in a big way in Krishna, West Godavari and East Godavari districts on the occasion of Sankranti festival from January 14.
Grounds prepared to organise the cockfights in the three districts and thousands of roosters were trained for the bloody sports. The police warned of taking stringent action against the cockfight organisers.
Most of the political leaders, who used to extend patronage to the cockfight organisers, were defeated in the last elections. Most of the new MLAs are not evincing interest either to participate in cockfights or extend support, N Sambashiva Rao a cockfight organiser said at Kankipadu in Krishna district.
The cockfights are organised over 1,000 places in the three districts in which crores of rupees are staked. Large numbers of people come from neighbouring States including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana to stake on the blood sports. The NRIs who come to their native villages to celebrate Sankranti festival stake huge money in the cockfights. Last year stakes through online were also organised and LED TVs installed for their convenient.
Several people have taken up training the roosters as a profession to earn money. The roosters are fed expensive food like almonds and cashew and they are given rigorous training including swimming and fighting by their rears. There are various species in the roosters which are called Nemali, Kakinemali, Dega and Hamsa. East rooster which is ready to fight in the arena is sold from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000.
For the last seven decades the cockfights were organised in either Congress regime and in the TDP regime. Now for the first time, YSRCP came to power and the police are determined to curb the cockfight at any cost. The police are using drones to identify cockfight arenas.
"This year we are organising cockfights at remote areas to avoid police raids. At any cost we organise the fights as usual," S Satyanarayana said at Nuna village. The cockfights are organised for about 10 days from Bogi festival. When the police conduct raid on cockfight arenas, the organisers argue that they do not tie harp blades to the legs roosters and organise the cockfight in a traditional manner.
Police said that over 1,000 cases had been book against cockfight gamblers during the last 25 days in the state. The city police have registered 220 cases and arrested 375 persons during the last 15 days. The police said that they identified 4,552 places where cockfights are organised in three districts. (UNI)