The Mangalagiri police on Monday arrested three persons and recovered 42 cocks at Yerrabalem that were reportedly being bred for bird fights, in Andhraâ€™s Guntur district.
According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, Mangalagiri Rural police raided the fields where the fighting cocks were being grown on a tip off and arrested M Sitaramarao, B Ragavaiah and P Daramarao.
The report adds that the price of the fighting cocks seized ranged from Rs 2,000 to Rs 1 lakh, depending upon their breed, colour and other features.
This comes shortly after the Hyderabad High Court this week, upheld the ban on cockfighting and directed the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to ensure no cockfights take place during the Sankranti festival.
The court extended the ban on cockfights on the whole and not just during the Sankranti festival in January.
The common High Court for both the Telugu states passed the orders on petitions filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Humane Society International/India, People for Animals and other organisations.
The petitioners brought to the notice of the court that cockfighting was being conducted every year on Sankranti on January 14 in violation of the ban on the practice and despite court orders passed in the past.
The ban has been reiterated previously by the Bombay High Court, Madras High Court and the Supreme Court as well. Cockfighting is banned under the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, 1960, and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974.
However, this has not acted as a deterrent for many villages along the Andhra coast, especially in East Godavari and West Godavari districts.
Quoting sources the Times of India reported that big organisers from Konaseema and the delta areas have already identified places that could serve as arenas, while the birds were bought online and trained on remote islands off the coast.
"These island villages are safe to carry out training. Or, we have to bribe cops who conduct raids during festival season every year. The big fights will start from second week of January," one organizer told TOI