KHAMMAM: Cockfights are part of an age-old tradition in both the Telugu states — more so in Andhra Pradesh — during the Sankranthi festival. With the fest just around the corner, the mango plantations located near the Andhra-Telangana border are packed with contenders, bookies and spectators of cockfights gearing up for some intense punting.
This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court had issued an order in 2018 banning the practice. On account of this, the Telangana police have also upped their game to curb cockfighting. So how are people getting away with it? Reportedly, cockfights are organised in discreet locations near the border so as to avoid getting caught by the police.
Interestingly, in the instance of a ‘cock-up’, the contenders and punters briefly flee the State by crossing over to Andhra — sometimes, just 50 metres away from the border — and set up their betting camps in the neighbouring State. This way, they beat the Telangana cops whose jurisdiction ends at the State borders. What a scene it would be to watch crime happen right in front of your eyes when you can’t do anything about it!
Well, what do the Andhra cops do about this? Even though the police claim that they have been taking measures to prevent cockfighting, the game is a prominent cultural marker that even they, allegedly, turn a blind eye towards the large scale betting.
Moreover, politicians, industrialists and other powerful sections actively take part in the game that involves punting in several crores. The organisers will also provide liquor and meat to attract participants. According to sources, the fighting pits are located in Nellipaka, Chodavaram, Laxmipuram near the Andhra-Telangana border.