While there were a number of people who fled the scene when the police raided the area where the cockfights were being held. During the raid, police seized a number of items, including 13 mobile phones, 14 motorcycles, and at least Rs 1,900 in cash.
A K Sahu, a police inspector, said: “We suspect someone from Berhampur was organizing the cockfights.”
A police spokesperson said: “It’s nothing but high-stake gambling. The cockfight gamblers from the neighboring states have migrated to bordering districts in Odisha after a crackdown there.”
The cocks have been trained to fight and specially bred for this purpose. The cocks fight until one bird dies. When the bird has died, the owner of the winning bird gets to take home the bird and the money that was wagered. Cockfighting is illegal in India not only because it is gambling, it is also seen as cruelty to animals. The fights still seem to be very popular and are often watched by large crowds.
The cockfight seemed to be organized to mark the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Inspector Sahu explained that those who were arrested were from several areas, including Bhanjanagar, Sorada, Aska, and Dharakote.
The police noted that last year, soon after Makar Sankranti, there were 20 people arrested at a similar cockfight near Aska. The gamblers at that fight were from Alipur, and Rs 9,000 was seized.
The police commented that they are keeping vigil in order to prevent cockfighting in India. Since the practice is illegal and cruel, the police are “taking action against organizers and gamblers.”
While there are a number of arrests for cockfights throughout the year, it seems clear that even though police are being vigilant, there are many cockfights that fall under the radar each year.