Vijayawada: All set for the start of cockfights in three coastal districts of Krishna, East and West Godavari from Monday marking the festival of Sankranti. Cockfight is age-old tradition in the Godavari-Krishna delta region during Sankranti season.
Arrangements are being made for cockfights at Edupugallu village near Vijayawada on Sunday.
Lakhs of people enjoy watching cockfights while punters give special training to cocks for fight in the lethal battles. Sankranti festival without cockfights is very unusual in these districts as people habituated to watch and enjoy the vacation for two or three days.
The High Court imposed a ban on cockfights with knives. So, the organizers say they will conduct the cockfights without knives. But the cruel game continues with knives only. Because, the punters and participants wish that each game should be finished in less than 15 minutes.
So that, more games can be conducted in two days. Keeping in view of the craze for the game, thousands of roosters are kept ready for the lethal game beginning Monday. Some organizers have imported roosters from Thailand and Australia also.
Sadly, the organizers have not made any arrangements to treat the injured roosters, which will die with brutal injuries and severe bleeding. No one likes to carry back home the defeated creatures. Fate of most defeated birds end in the battles and near the arenas.
In East Godavari district, around 100 arenas are kept ready and out of which about 50 are located in the Konaseema region, which is represented by Home Minister N Chinarajappa.
Cockfights will be held in Allavaram, Amalapuram, Razole, Gannavaram, Kothapeta, etc, along with Tuni, Kakinada rural, Peddapuram, Samalkot, Vetlapalem and Rajamahendravara rural. Informal permissions were given for recording dances too in some parts of the district. All the rooms in the hotels at Kakinada, Rajamahendravaram, Amalapuram and other areas were booked with punters and visitors from other places.
Meanwhile, East Godavari SP Vishal Gunni and Rajamahendravaram urban SP Shemushi Bajpayee have warned of stern action against cockfight organisers and punters as the traditional sports was banned in the state.
West Godavari tops in cockfights in the state. Politicians from AP and Telangana, film actors, celebrities and highly influential people reach West Godavari district to watch cockfights in big arenas.
Bhimavaram, Akiveedu, Undi, Dendulur, Dwaraka Tirumala, Chintalapudi, Devarapalli, Koyalagudem, Bhimadolu and other mandals are famous for cockfights. The punters fed the cocks with special diet so that it can fight with great stamina and vigour to win the game.
In Krishna district, arenas will be arranged at Bandar, Gudivada, Nuzvid, Chatrai, Pedana, Ghantasala, Kankipadu, Penamaluru and other mandals.
Sale of biryani and liquor is very common near the arenas as the punters and participants lavishly spend thousands of rupees for eating and consumption of liquor.
Krishna SP S Tripathi has warned that cockfights would not be allowed at any cost. But the punters and organizers are in no mood to back step from conducting the game in the name of tradition in many parts of the district, particularly in the eastern and northern parts.
By Md Ameen and SS Chary