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Knives are being tied to the legs of the birds to make it a bloody and deadly fight.

Andhra Pradesh:  In blatant violation of the Supreme Court order and guidelines for rooster fights in coastal Andhra Pradesh during Sankranti festival, knives are being tied to the legs of the birds to make it a bloody and deadly fight. Illegal activities such as gambling are also on in Godi Lanka in East Godavari district. Similar reports have come in from West Godavari and Krishna districts as well. A few hundred crores are estimated to have exchanged hands during these cockfights.

Elaborate arrangements have been made for facilitating wide participation in the annual spectacle. The Hyderabad High Court had banned rooster fights. But enthusiasts of this traditional sport approached the Supreme Court which allowed it and also issued guidelines that there should be no gambling and no cruelty towards animals.

The police had formed special teams to ensure court orders were strictly followed but with local politicians ensuring no disruption to the game, it has become a huge challenge for the police. In fact, they are often active participants in deploying fighter birds for duels and indulge in gambling.

Cockfights are popular in Andhra Pradesh during the Sankranti festival. Betting worth crores of rupees takes place during the traditional sport. The birds cost anywhere between Rs 10,000 to a lakh and sometimes more. They are put on special diets and trained as a matter of prestige and also because a lot of money rides on them.

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