Thousands of people enjoyed rooster fights during the three-day Sankranti festivities in Coastal districts, particularly in Krishna, West and East Godavari, and crores of rupees changed hands.
Organisers arranged arenas by pitching huge tents, floodlights, fast food centres, hotels, cool drink and pan shops, biryani points and liquor outlets.
TDP and YSRCP leaders arranged fights separately in their respective strongholds.
“Rooster fights are part of the harvest festival. We see the game as a tradition and no one can stop them. This year, we enjoyed rooster fights like before,” said M. Bujji Babu of Sakinetipalli, at a cockfight arena.
Rooster fights were arranged in Akiveedu, Bhimavaram Rural, Palakol, Mogalturu, Narsapuram, Manikonda, Kankipadu, Kalidindi, Korukallu, Vuyyuru, Thotlavalluru, Jaggannapeta, Ambajipeta, Razole, Mummidivaram, Kadiyam, Gokavaram and other mandals.
“My brother-in-law brought two fowls named Hamsa and Kaki from Jangareddygudem. Our roosters won in two fights and we got ₹70,000,” said Pilli Aruna who participated in the fights in a village at Lankalakoderu in West Godavari district.
“Rooster fights were arranged at many places this year. Trained fowls of different species participated in fights and we enjoyed the game a lot. Many farmers, NRIs, techies from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and other cities invested huge amounts in the fights,” said Ch. Teja, an engineering student of Kaikalur in Krishna district.
Police conducted raids on arenas and have booked more than 1,200 cases since January 14 and 15 in East, West Godavari and Krishna districts. Many roosters, knives and money were seized in the raids, said a police officer of West Godavari district.
Speaking to The Hindu on Thursday, Krishna district Superintendent of Police M. Ravindranath Babu said that 420 cases had been booked, 1,150 persons arrested and about ₹16 lakh cash had been seized in the last two days.
“We conducted raids on gambling dens under Veeravalli and Robertsonpet police station limits on Thursday. As many as 37 gamblers were arrested and ₹9 lakh seized from them,” Mr. Ravindranath Babu said.
East Godavari district Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem Asmi said 242 cases have been booked against the organisers and punters under the AP Gaming Act.
“More than 350 persons have been arrested. Raids are continuing on the arenas,” the SP added.