During the Sankranti festivities in the Telugu states of South India, incidents of illegal gambling activities and animal fights have come to the forefront, despite efforts by law enforcement to curb such practices.
In Wankidi Mandal, twelve individuals were arrested in two separate incidents for engaging in prohibited gambling activities. The arrests were made in Indani village and Velgi village, with cash amounting to Rs 8,710 and Rs 3,620 seized from the offenders, respectively, reported Telangana Today.
Rooster fights and gambling marred the celebrations in Anakapalli district and the outskirts of Visakhapatnam city. In response to strict instructions, police conducted raids, booking 101 cases in the last two days of Bhogi and Sankranti. The crackdown resulted in the arrest of 151 persons and the seizure of 133 roosters and ₹65,000 in cases related to rooster fights. Additionally, 47 cases were filed against 215 people for gambling, with the police confiscating ₹2.74 lakh from the accused.
The Hindu reported that despite the High Court’s ban and police preventive measures, crores of rupees changed hands during the Sankranti festivities in five Godavari districts and various parts of Andhra Pradesh. Cockfights, a significant spectacle during Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh, were widespread, attracting large crowds. Organizers, allegedly supported by political leaders, facilitated these activities, with reports suggesting the involvement of leaders from the ruling YSRC.
The police intervened in some locations, arresting around 100 organizers in NTR and Krishna districts. Despite warnings, organisers faced minimal hurdles in making arrangements for these events. Police allowed some cockfights with the condition that they were conducted traditionally without attaching knives to roosters, but these conditions were openly flouted.
These incidents highlight the challenges authorities face in curbing illegal activities during festive times.