A cockfight was organised at the Higher Primary School at Delanthabettu in Shibaroor in Mangalore taluk on Wednesday.

It is a form of gambling which has been banned under the Karnataka Police Act, 1963.

According to sources, schoolchildren were let off early to hold the cockfight.

The cockfight began around 3 p.m. But by 4.30 p.m., everybody left the school premises before the arrival of the police, raising doubts that they had been tipped off.

A cockfight usually begins around 3 p.m. and continues till 8 p.m.

The police said that they rushed to the school soon after receiving information. But sources told The Hindu that the police were informed about the cockfight an hour before they arrived.

Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh said: “If it was found that the police were conniving” in the case, action would be taken. He said that the police would conduct an inquiry into the incident.

Organising cockfights for gambling was an offence. But the police would give permission if cockfights were organised as part of religious or cultural events, he said.

According to a trustee of Shri Kodamanithaya Daivasthana, about eight cents of land of the school belonged to the temple and the local people had informed him that they were holding a cockfight. He had told them to go ahead with it, he said.

“There was a kola Tuesday night,” he said. Asked which “kola” happened in monsoon, the trustee said that it was the one that occurred soon after Ganesh Chaturti.

But folk scholar Amrith Someshwar said he knew of no “kola” that occurred either in monsoon or soon after Ganesh Chaturti.

Generally, the “kola” season was from Deepavali to May the following year, he said.

Block Education Officer for Mangalore Rajalakshmi could not be reached for comments.

Students of the primary school were let off early