A local court in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday sentenced 95 persons to a 3-day jail term along with a fine of Rs 100 each, for participating in cockfights in the state.
The 95 people at Nidadavole in West Godavari had been booked by the police during the three days of Sankranti festival, when the banned blood sport is held.
They were charged under the AP Gaming Act, 1974 and under section 188 of the IPC, besides relevant sections of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
According to reports, they were later taken to sub-jails in Tanuku and Tadepalligudem.
The arrests came a day after the Hyderabad High Court expressed displeasure over the failure of the Andhra Pradesh authorities to prevent cockfights during Sankranti celebrations this month despite its orders.
The court sought to know from the Chief Secretary and the DGP as to why they had failed to prevent cockfights despite clear court orders, adding that it wanted the names of politicians who participated in the bloodsport.
The court asked the officials to submit details of cockfights held in East Godavari and West Godavari districts. The bench directed for information on who all organised the cockfights at over 800 places in the two districts, number of cases registered and details of the accused.
The High Court this month asked the state government to prevent cockfights. The Supreme Court had also dismissed the plea against the ban.
However, the cockfights were conducted at several places in coastal Andhra with impunity during Sankranti, the harvest festival celebrated from January 13 to 15.
Every year, crores of rupees change hands as cockfights are organised on a massive scale during week-long Sankranti holidays. Politicians of all hues, businessmen, and celebrities also participate in such cockfights.
Animal rights activists say the authorities have always failed to implement court orders on the matter.
They point out that as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974, cockfights are illegal.