After a heavy crackdown on cockfights being organised across Andhra Pradesh, the state police said that it had arrested close to 2,000 people in four districts alone.
The police especially tragetted organisers and punters from the districts of Krishna, Guntur, East Godavari and West Godavari.
Stating that they have arrested 1,917 organisers, the police said that the accused had been charged under the AP Gaming act, and cash, knives and birds had been seized.
“The arrested, along with the seized fowl, cash and knives, would be produced in court. A detailed report would be submitted to the High Court,” a police officer told The Hindu.
Vijayawada witnessed roughly a 250% increase in the number of cockfights that were held, as Vijayawada Police Commissioner D Gautam Sawang said that 409 cases had been booked this year.
He also said that the police had taken 456 people into custody, while 955 people were apprehended across Krishna district in 382 cases.
The Guntur Urban and Rural police also worked actively and managed to register more than 4,000 cases and detain an equal number of people.
Meanwhile, 722 cases were registered against 2,805 persons in West Godavari district, while East Godavari district saw around 1,000 cases being booked.
Earlier this month, 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.
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.
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.