Andhra Pradesh DGP M Malakondaiah on Tuesday submitted a detailed list of names to the Hyderabad High Court of public representatives who took part in cockfights held during Sankranti this year, despite court orders.
According to reports, the list included the names of Kakinada MP Thota Narasimham, Pithapuram MLA V Satyanarayana Varma, Mummidivaram MLA D Subbaraju, Ungaturu MLA G Veeranjaneyulu, Polavaram MLA M Srinivasa Rao, Penamaluru (Krishna District) MLA B Prasad, Vijayawada (Central) MLA Bonda Umamaheshwar Rao.
Besides the MP and six MLAs, several other leaders from Municipal Chairmen to MLCs to corporators were also named. The names of a few sarpanches also found their way to the list besides other public representatives.
In January this year, the HC asked the state to follow the Supreme Court's directions and constitute a joint inspection team to prevent cockfights, while also directing West Godavari's Superintendent of Police and District Collector to personally monitor the situation on the ground.
The court was irked that several Ministers and politicians in the state had openly stood in support of holding cockfights, directly in violation of the Supreme Court's orders.
“If you can’t implement the law, tell us. We will select an officer and direct you to appoint him to deal with these crimes,” the bench had said at the time.
The sport, is a 'tradition' for many people living in rural areas of coastal Andhra, and extensive betting is also done, with several crore rupees exchanging hands every year.
The fight is usually between two birds, specially bred for the purpose, with the match ending when one bird dies or is fatally injured. In many cases, three to four-inch knives are attached to the cocks' legs, making the fight bloodier, as hundreds gather to watch.
Cockfighting is banned under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974.