Cockfight a Big Bloody Betting Game during Sankranti
By P Laxma Reddy | Published: 13th January 2014 08:57 AM |
With the major annual festival, Sankranti, just a couple of days away, the time has also come for witnessing cockfights. Since the police cannot control the bloody sport for several reasons during the three-day Sankranti festival, many people, including politicians, businessmen and people from film industry, are all set to test their luck in the bloody game played by cocks.
Cockfighting, an old tradition, has turned a major gambling for quite some time now and the money poured into this ‘traditional bloody sport’ is said to be equivalent to the betting made over the 20-20 cricket matches.
For those who are not from coastal districts, it might seem a big surprise but it is a routine annual ritual for the people of West Godavari, East Godavari, Krishna and even the neighbouring Khammam district.
Cockfighting in Krishna, East Godavari and Khammam districts is conducted on large scale. It is said that around Rs 400 crore betting is made in these four districts. “It is estimated that the bets worth Rs 80 crore to Rs 100 crore are made every day during the three-day festival at I.Bhimavaram alone” says a politician and organiser.
I.Bhimavaram, a tiny village in Akiveedu mandal of West Godavari, has got a reputation all over the state and even in Chennai and Bangolore for cockfighting. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam chairman and Narsapur MP Kanumuri Bapiraju hails from this village.
The organisers have already constructed VIP galleries to see the cock-fight in the village. A ‘bari’ (ring) formed in the village. In this fight the least betting for a fight is Rs 1 lakh. The highest bid is Rs 50 lakh.
It is said that the organisers are pressurising Bapiraju and other people’s representatives to avoid police interference and they are inviting MLAs, MPs, and ministers from Telangana and Rayalaseema areas too.
Besides I.Bhimavaram, cockfights will also be held at Prakruti Ashram in Bhimavaram town, Vempa village in Bhimavaram mandal. Over crores of rupees turnover witnessed every year in these betting. Mahadevapatnam, Juvvalapalem in Kalla mandal, srinivasapuram in Jangareddigudem mandal, Dharmajigudem in Lingapalem Mandal, Koppaka, Duggirala, Kokkirapadu, Naidugudem in Denduluru constituency, the betting mania is on.
In recent times, Denduluru has also became another centre of attraction. TDP leaders are key persons in these areas. In the delta area politicians, irrespective of parties, take part in the cockfights.
It is learnt that the delta and upland area leaders have collected lakhs of rupees to get permissions for holding cockfights in their areas. They have also reportedly chalked out a plan to ‘satisfy’ the police officers.
All the lodges, hotels and even guest house in delta area, particularly Bhimavaram town, have been booked. While some of them were booked six months back, some had been booked during last year's Sankranti itself.
DIG (Eluru Range) Vikramsingh Mann, during a recent visit to Narasapur, has warned organisers of legal action if they conduct cockfights.
Forget about the organisers, even no police official cared this warning causing much encouragement to the organizers to go as scheduled. One Delta area official said “Though we conducted the raids, the cockfight never stopped all these years. This year also we have to face such situation. The organisers may indulge in physical attack which incidents earlier occurred in Delta area”
However, it is learnt that many peoples representatives are considering the issue of getting `unofficial permission’ from the police to organise the cockfighting a prestigious one, as it is the election season.
It is a fight between/among specially-trained gamecocks whose legs are fitted with metal gaffs. The rural sport, once organised for amusement, has now turned into a big betting game almost equal to a Twenty20 cricket match.
This tiny village in Akiveedu mandal in West Godavari district is the hotbed of cockfights where bets up to Rs 100 crore a day are made during the 3-day jamboree. Big politicians, businessmen and film personalities take part in it. The scale can be imagined from the fact VIP galleries are built around the ring where gamecocks fight.