Reports also add that many organisers have announced guest lists, which included popular political figures.

Despite ban Andhras cockfight organisers enjoy covert political supportFile photo: PTI
news News Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 09:18

As Sankranti edges closer in Andhra, the police have constituted several teams to prevent the annual 'cockfights' from being held along the coastal areas of the state.

Despite this, reports suggest that politicians continue to covertly support the 'sport', to appeal to their voter base. 
 
"Cockfights have been a tradition. If we stop it, our opponents will cash in on it," a senior TDP leader from Bhimavaram told the Times of India

Reports also add that many organisers have announced guest lists, which included popular political figures.

Speaking to the media, Chintamaneni Prabhakar, Denduluru MLA from the TDP also stated that they would follow the court orders, but the roosters wouldn't.

“It comes naturally to the birds. When they face each other, automatically they will fight. Soon, people will also gather to watch. We can't stop that," he remarked.

Last year too, a ruling TDP MP and MLA defied the court order, and inaugurated a cock-fighting session in Eluru

Despite the Supreme Court upholding the Hyderabad High Court's order prohibiting cockfights, organisers in the state seem to pay no heed to the ban.

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.

The SC ruling came after Andhra Pradesh BJP leader K Raghu Ramakrishna Raju filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, which sought a stay on the Hyderabad High Court's ban order.

Raju argued that cockfights were a traditional sport and the HC order infringed on an individual's freedom to pursue a 'sport' of their choice. "In fact, the court ruling is unconstitutional and hence should be declared null and void," his counsel was quoted as saying.

Cockfighting is banned under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974.

 

Read - Andhra ban on cockfight ineffective as birds go on sale on OLX ahead of Sankranti

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