Reiterating that the administration in Andhra Pradesh was serious in curbing cockfights, Chittoor district Superintendent of Police, SV Rajashekar Babu warned the organisers of the blood sport on Saturday, to dismiss any arrangements that were made. He also said that organisers would be arrested.
Speaking to reporters, Babu was quoted as saying, “A team of police, revenue and animal safety board will take up a special surveillance in all the villages. We have also informed all Sub Inspectors to have a word with the village heads and sarpanchs to dismiss the arrangements if any.”
“There are 14 mandals in the district, which are still continuing cockfights. We will also file case against those who gives their land for the fights. Everyone should celebrate the festival along with their families, not with these games,” he added.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal against an order of the Hyderabad High Court, directing the Andhra Pradesh government not to allow cockfights during Sankranti and seize the roosters.
Raghu Rama Krishna Raju, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader in Andhra Pradesh, had filed the petition challenging the high court order.
The apex court order came even as cockfights were being organised in various parts of coastal Andhra in violation of the High Court order.
Crores of rupees change hands as cockfights are organised on massive scale during Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh. Politicians of all hues, businessmen and celebrities also participate in the cockfights organised during the week-long holidays.
Sankranti, the three-day colourful harvest festival, is beginning on Saturday.
Animal rights activists point out that as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974, cockfights are illegal.
"Irrespective of whether the birds are fitted with knives or whether ancillary activities of betting, gambling take place, the practice of animal fights is prohibited by law. The Courts have time and again upheld this prohibition on cockfights," said Humane Society International (HSI), India.