JVM leader Dulal Bhuiyan kicks off a cockfight at Pandey Ghat of Subernarekha on Monday. (Bhola Prasad)
Making a mockery of animal protection rules under political patronage has been the fad at Makar Sankranti and Tusu Parab celebrations in and around Jamshedpur. This year was no different.
Citing tradition as an alibi, political heavyweights — including three-time JVM legislator and former minister Dulal Bhuiyan, JMM core committee member Mohan Karmakar and the party’s Ghatshila MLA Ramdas Soren — are organising gory cockfights everywhere.
While Karmakar sponsored a Tusu fair and cockfight at Domuhani Ghat near Sonari a couple of days ago, Bhuiyan’s game show is scheduled at Pandey Ghat on the banks of Subernarekha for three days from Monday. Soren is hosting a similar spectacle near Ghorabandha for two days.
Sujit Sahu, an animal rights activist and advocate, said the silence of the East Singhbhum district administration on the matter had only magnified this cruelty towards roosters over the years. “Every time, I inform the police and the administration in vain. I have lost all hopes now. It is such a pity that hundreds of birds are killed just for fun,” he added.
Inspector at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) A.K. Dubey confirmed that cockfights were illegal in this country. “It is banned under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) and offenders can be sent to jail for three months or fined or both,” he said.
The entire idea of the game is barbaric, says Sahu. The fights are held between specially bred and trained roosters. There’s a deathly clanking of metal — steel blades, knives or other razor-sharp objects that are tied to the legs of these birds as they fight to the finish — while thousands watch the savage spectacle and even bet on the winner.
Organisers like Baldev Bhuiyan, younger brother of the JVM leader, express little remorse and plead ignorance about laws banning cockfights.
“We have been holding these games since 1993 under the aegis of Jharkhand Sanskritik Kala Rang Manch and we will continue doing so. Any attempt to stop cockfights will only lead to strong protests because thousands come from far and wide to watch the fights. The champion gets a gold ring,” he exuded only pride.
JMM leader Karmakar said they had held their show for two days. “We had organised the bird game on January 12 and 13. From today, the fair will be draw crowds,” he added.
Besides the heart of the city, cockfights are also held in Salgajhuri and Parsudih.Additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar too expressed ignorance about animal laws banning such gory games. “I will have to seek legal opinion to check if cockfights are banned or not. We can then initiate action against violators. Since today is a holiday, we will be able to take some action only tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.
Are police giving a long rope to animal-baiting politicians?