Andhra leaders urge Centre to allow cockfights

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Hyderabad, Jan 13 (IANS) Some public representatives and organisations from Andhra Pradesh have urged the central government to treat cockfight as a traditional game like bull taming sport Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.

With the Centre urged to issue an ordinance to allow Jallikattu, leaders from coastal Andhra Pradesh have demanded that cockfight should also be brought under the purview of such an ordinance.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Raghurama Krishnam Raju, public representatives from East and West Godavari districts and leaders of some people’s organisations have written a letter to the union home secretary in this regard.

The move comes amid a warning by police that they will implement court orders banning cockfights and take strict action against violators.

Krishnam Raju and others say cockfights are part of the culture as they are traditionally organised during the Sankranti festival. They claim that 80 percent of people want cockfights.

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Raju, who had last year challenged the high court order against cockfights, argues that without cockfights, the festival will lose its significance.

The Sankranti festival spread over 3-4 days is scheduled to be celebrated from Thursday.

The Andhra Pradesh government last week assured the Hyderabad High Court that it will take all steps to ensure that cockfights are not organised.

Police in the two Godavari districts and Krishna district have put up banners, informing people that the Supreme Court has banned cockfights.

Police warned that violators will be punished as per law. Cases have already been registered against organisers at some places.

However, the organisers said to be enjoying political patronage were going ahead with the arrangements.

Powerful politicians of all hues, celebrities and businessmen, participate in the betting, the money on which is estimated to be anywhere between Rs.700 crore to Rs.800 crore.

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The fights between specially bred and trained cocks are organised in fields as thousands watch them. Three- to four-inch knives are tied to the cocks’ legs and the fight continues till the death of one of the two cocks in each round.

Animal lovers have long been demanding a complete ban on cockfights to prevent cruelty to the birds.

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