Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Monday asked the Andhra Pradesh government to strictly implement its ban on cockfighting during the Sankranthi festival.
This comes as despite the ban, the stage is set for the traditional sport during the festival of Sankranti in many districts.
Preparations are in full swing in private farms where such events are usually held. The demand for the roosters are high. Depending on the breed, roosters are being sold from Rs 10,000 to whopping Rs 1, 50, 000.
Apart from preparing cockfighting pits, owners train their birds for several months, which are given a nutritious diet full of almonds, cashews, minced meat and eggs to get ready for the fights.
"Cockfights are part of our culture. We will conduct them and no one can stop is," said an organiser of cock-fight event.
Like Jallikattu, cockfighting was banned because it is considered it was considered cruel for the animal and encouraging illegal activities around it. For increased entertainment value, a sharp knife is attached to the claw of the bird. The cocks are then forced to fight until one dies or is critically injured and unable to stand up.
Not only cruelty to birds, illegal activities like betting which runs into several crores of rupees and sale of illicit liquor are also witnessed at such events.
District collectors, particularly in West Godavari, East Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts have been asked to constitute inspection teams to prevent such events and take immediate action.
In Hyderabad, task force police on Sunday busted a cockfighting and betting racket and arrested 29 people. The Jubilee Hills police seized 17 birds, six short knives, 26 mobile phones and Rs 80,000 cash.
Various organisations fighting to end the practice have urged the public to report cases to the police. NG Jayasimha, managing Director, Humane Society International, said, "There has been ample evidence of cockfights taking place and the government turning a blind eye to them. We urge government to ensure orders are followed. Cockfights are not only cruel to animals but also encourages illegal activities like gambling and child labour".
"We will write to Honorable Speaker this time and he should take note. Each elected representative are sworn to follow the Constitution. The Court has issued show cause notices already. We will ask Speaker to take disciplinary action, if elected representatives are found participating or inaugurating the cockfights", he added.
Every year businessmen, politician and celebrities from all parts of the country flock to Andhra Pradesh to participate in cockfighting during Sankranti festival.