Ex-Andhra MLA Escapes After Police Raid Venue Of Cockfight Near Hyderabad

Hyderabad: A former MLA of Andhra Pradesh escaped when the Telangana Police raided a place in Patancheru near here where he had organised a cockfight.

Chintamaneni Prabhakar, a former MLA of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), had allegedly organised the cockfight at a mango grove. On a tip-off, police raided the place on Wednesday night and arrested 21 people. However, 50 others, including Prabhakar managed to escape.

A police team raided the mango grove in the Pedda Kanjarla village where a large group of men was engaged in betting on cockfights under the lights.

Patancheru Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhim Reddy said they conducted the raid after receiving information that Prabhakar was organising cockfights. The police team found about 70 people there but most of them, including Prabhakar managed to escape taking advantage of the darkness.

The police seized 31 roosters, Rs 13.12 lakh cash, 26 vehicles and 27 mobile phones.

The police said that Prabhakar, a former MLA Denduluru in Eluru district of Andhra Pradesh, was conducting the cockfights. The other main organisers were identified as Akkineni Satish, Krishnam Raju, Barla Raju.

Despite the ban, cockfights are common in many parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh during Sankranti celebrations. Crores of rupees change hands as cockfights are organised in towns and villages across several districts in the neighbouring state.

The organisers made specially-bred roosters fight with small knives or blades tied to their legs. The fight often ends with the death of one of the two birds.

Backed by powerful politicians and businessmen, the organisers make special seating arrangements for those participating in betting and for spectators.

Punters from not just neighbouring villages and districts but even Telangana and other states participate in the betting.

Some of the organisers also conduct the cockfights on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The latest incident shows that cockfights are not just confined to Sankranti celebrations.

It was in 2016 that the High Court had banned cockfights. The Supreme Court had upheld the ban.

Animal rights activists point out that as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974, cockfights are illegal.

They say despite court orders, the cockfights continue unabated, reportedly under the patronage of elected public representatives while law enforcement agencies turn blind eye to this lawlessness.