The Vijayawada police Commissionerate is going all out to prevent cockfights during the three-day Sankranti festival beginning on Monday. Come Sankranti festival and coastal Andhra reverberates with the blood-sport, especially in the rural pockets of the districts of Krishna, West and East Godavari.
The sport is associated with high-stake gambling involving businessmen, high-profile farmers, NRIs, film stars and politicians. It is estimated that the stakes go into crores, and in the three days, gambling associated with the sport almost touches Rs. 300 crore in these three districts alone.
Talking to The Hindu, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) M. Ravi Prakash said that the department was all set to curb the blood-sport in a big way.Special team
Giving details he said, “We have formed a special team comprising over 250 personnel and have despatched contingents to targeted regions in Krishna district such as Vuyyuru, Unguturu, Gannavaram, Ibrahimpatnam, Kankipadu, Nuzvid, Kaikaluru and Agiripalli. The city police commissionerate is working in tandem with the rural police to curb the menace”.
Under preventive measures, the special team has already booked about 107 organisers from various areas under Section 110 of the CrPC. As per this section habitual offenders are taken into preventive custody.
The DCP also said that on Sankranti, when cockfights and gambling reach their peak, the officers have been authorised to take into custody persons indulging or associating with the sport under Section 151 of CrPC. Under this section, a police officer knowing of a design to commit any cognizable offence may arrest, without orders from a Magistrate and without a warrant, the person so designing, if it appeared to such officer that the commission of the offence could not be otherwise prevented.
“Last year, we have taken into custody about 150 organisers, but this year we expect to detain more people. Our focus is to totally curb the blood-sport,” said Mr. Ravi Prakash.
The police have also put in place a very strong intelligence network and have already gone on an awareness drive educating the stakeholders to refrain from the activity.
Though many believe that it is a traditional game, been practised during the festival, since ages, it has reached an alarming notion when it comes to the stakes and gruesomeness. Today, blades are tied to the legs of the roosters and they are trained to slash and cut the other. The stakes fly high and there is an adrenalin rush amidst the viewers and the participators with every bleeding slash. Mr. Ravi Prakash said that along with the preventive arrests, a number of such specially made blades and knives have also been seized by the police from the organisers.Special diet
The roosters at times are imported from other states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka at prices ranging between Rs, 50,000 to a lakh and are fed highly nutritious diet comprising millets, almonds and wheat grams and are trained by experts.