Kendrapada, Dec 20: Cockfights, an old traditional bloody game, have turned into a major gambling activity in several villages of Kendrapada district in Odisha. However, the district administration is silent over the cruelty to animals.
Law-enforcing agencies seem to have turned a blind-eye to the unlawful cockfighting game even as people in villages under Mahakalapada block predominantly inhabited by tribal population are making beelines to watch the exciting game.
Rights activists have sought for a blanket ban on the entertaining ritual under provisions of prevention of cruelty to animals and Orissa prevention of gambling act.
Both for fun and tradition, people are getting themselves involved in cockfight practice in Adivasipadia and Arunnagar village of Baulokani gram panchayat of Mahakalpada tehsil. The fun fight has begun from prathamstami (November 15) and it will continue till Makar Sankranti (January 15).
The participants also bet on fighter roosters. While the fight in the arena evokes considerable enthusiasm, the primary attention for most people, is shifted to the betting that goes on during each bout, said an ex-Sarpanch from the area, Bijoy Shukla.
"Transportation of chickens is violation of prevention of cruelty to animals law. Besides the death of cocks during fighting bout amounts to slaughtering in public glare which is illegal," said Member, District Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Kendrapada, Bijoy Kabi.
Besides the cockfights lead to betting, which is punishable offence under Orissa prevention of gambling act. Large number of children are found turning up to witness the bloody game out of childlike simplicity and curiosity.
"We enjoy the game. Cockfights are entertaining. The arena becomes a place for social interaction as people from all walks of life converge at the fight ground. Though betting does takes place during the game, the amounts at stake are negligible," said a local resident Harpada Mandal.
Inspector of Mahakalpada police station, Padarbinda Tripathy said, "It had not been earlier brought to the notice of police. As a complaint has been lodged, police would take steps in accordance with legal provisions".