Kodipandayam (cockfight) was banned by the top court to stop cruelty to birds and gambling associated with the "recreational sport". The three-day Sankranti festival saw thousands participating in duels organised by politicians, NRIs and others at huge fairs.
These cockfights are popular in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during the Sankranti festival. It involves betting worth crores of rupees and this time the transaction were reportedly being made digitally to beat the currency crunch after the notes ban.
At Mahadevpatnam village in Andhra Pradesh, the first day of Sankranti festival saw massive arrangements at multiple venues for these fights. The local MLA V Venkata Sivarama Raju and leaders from all political parties were present on the occasion. Elaborate tents with proper seating arrangement have been put in place, even WiFi arrangements were made to facilitate digital transactions.
"Just like bullock-cart races, contests for cows, rangoli contests, the cockfights also happen as part of our tradition of farmers. We are not violating the law,'' Mr Raju said, adding for three days in a year, farmers want to celebrate after months of hard work.
On Friday, the top court had refused to vacate the stay that gave partial relief to those who want cockfights to continue.