Andhra Pradesh

Cockfights come early in Chittoor

A group of youth engaged in cockfights detained by the police at a forest location near Varadaiahpalem in Chittoor district.

A group of youth engaged in cockfights detained by the police at a forest location near Varadaiahpalem in Chittoor district.  

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Organisers select ‘safe’ places in forest fringes, agricultural fields to dodge police

Cockfights, which generally surface a fortnight before Sankranti, have come early in the eastern mandals of Chittoor district, with the organisers selecting “safe” places in the forest fringes and inside agricultural fields, to escape the police eye.

Organisers conduct rooster fights in the eastern mandals of Nagalapuram, Pitchatur, Varadaiahpalem and Satyvavedu, targeting farmers and petty traders, as they would have some cash post-kharif harvest or with the beginning of Rabi season.

The Varadaiahpalem police on Sunday evening seized seven roosters and ₹4,000 in cash and arrested 10 suspected gamblers at a forest location close to Ambikapuram village between Satyavedu and Varadaihpalem. The suspected punters are from Varadaiahpalem, B.N. Kandriga in Chittoor district, and Sullurupeta and Tada of Nellore district. Youth from neighbouring Gummindipoondi in Tamil Nadu also participate in the rooster fights.

Cash transfer

The organisers, it is said, are not afraid of the police in view of “negligible punishments and fines”. Expecting police raids, punters carry little cash and deposit huge amounts with organisers, who, in turn, keep it in “safe custody”.

The game would continue from morning till dusk, with a regular supply of liquor and lunch with choicest dishes.

What is worrying for the police is that cockfights have started almost one and half month early this year. In spite of the surveillance at vulnerable locations, the organisers gave the police the slip, changing locations regularly.

Well connected

Unlike the western mandals of the district, this stretch from Srikalahasti to Tada is well connected with roads, apart from a number of a village roads linked to the Chennai National Hightway. At the same time, the location provides a congenial ambience for the organisers, with small jungles and fields in the plain area, making detection of police raids easy.

Sub-Inspector (Varadaiahpalem) Hari Prasad said with a couple of weeks left for Sankranti, a special drive would be taken up in the rural areas to create awareness among the families prone to the lure of cockfights. “It’s unfortunate that the farmers after getting some money in the Kharif would be losing it the cockfights,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 1:16:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/cockfights-come-early-in-chittoor/article30020573.ece

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