Organisers ignore police warning

Despite ‘strict’ police vigil, punters organised cockfights in Konaseema and the rest of East Godavari district on the occasion of Kanuma on Tuesday. Cricket bookies in small towns, smelling big bucks, turned punters.

Ignoring police warnings that rowdy-sheets would be opened against organisers and participants, special arrangements were made in some areas for watching cockfights. A majority of punters, who belonged to the Kshatriya community, said cockfight was a custom. “We are only following the tradition, not indulging in betting,” said B. Ramaraju of Godi village.

Yedurlanka in I. Polavaram mandal is the hub of cockfights and the elite of this community converged on the village from places as far as Hyderabad and Bangalore three days ahead of ‘Pongal’. The punters and middlemen, who were mostly realtors, went all out to lure them. In the villages, engineering students participated in the sport. “This is also a sport and is organised once a year. Police should not ban this,” said Naveen, an engineering student.