news Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | January 13, 2015 | 10:15 am IST The Supreme Court on Monday directed status quo to be maintained on the traditional cock fight games during the Sankranti festival in Andhra Pradesh. It also directed the Andhra Pradesh High Court to review the case and hear all sides, including the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) The whole issue started when a Andhra Pradesh High Court order dated Dec 29, 2014 - directed police to take action against those organising cock fights with betting, sale of liquor, gambling and subjecting animals and birds to cruelty during the festival from Jan 10 to Jan 16. However BJP leader Raghurama Krishnam Raju, one of the main petitioners who challenged the HC order feels that cock fights are a part of tradition and must continue or the festival will lose its significance. "Cock fighting is a traditional sport that has been going on for thousands of years. Association of gambling with the sport however, is wrong and I do not deny that" he told The News Minute. He also added that "The HC had banned the fights based on an instruction given by the government. However when the SC asked for a Government Order (GO), there was nothing on paper." Animal welfare activists however, quoted the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 which makes it a punishable offence if any person solely with a view to provide entertainment incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal. Gauri, a representative of Humane Society International, India, said cock fighting has been prevalent in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh during Sankranti where betting and gambling worth more than Rs.500 crore takes place.  Powerful politicians of all hues, celebrities and businessmen, participate in the betting. The fights between the specially bred and trained cocks are organised in fields as thousands watch them. Three to four inch knives are attached to the cocks' legs and the fight continues till the death of one of the two cocks in each round. Raghurama when asked about his opinion on the animal welfare activists says "They definitely have a point. In my personal opinion. the knife that is attached to the bird's legs is definitely wrong and even worse than betting on the fight." "The case review is going to come up again and I plan to appeal that a knife-less, gambling free, traditional sport be continued." he adds. Though police deny the permission for conduct of the fights, the organisers always have the last laugh thanks to the support from powerful politicians. Every year, police seize specially bred cocks and money in different places but it continues to thrive due to political patronage With inputs from IANS Tweet Follow @thenewsminute

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