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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Indian Police Arrests 500 Offenders for Gambling on Occasion of Hindu Festival

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Indian Police Arrests 500 Offenders for Gambling on Occasion of Hindu Festival

Police in the Indian state of Odisha has arrested more than 500 individuals for illegal gambling in the Ganjam and Jajpur districts. The arrests were a result of police raids in gambling dens organized on occasion of a popular Hindu festival, the Kumar Purnima.

Authorities have raided several underground gambling dens in Odisha, arresting over 500 people, they announced on Wednesday. Only in the Ganjam district, the arrested gamblers are more than 500. This week alone, the police in Ganjam has seized Rs6 lakh, which is approximately US$8,190. Another 11 individuals were arrested on the charge of gambling after a raid in an illegal gaming facility in the Bharatpur area. The Jaipur police have also found three bikes, six mobile phones and Rs5,325 (approx. $73) in cash.

Gambling is extremely restricted in India, although laws vary between states and cities. Some forms of gambling are allowed or at least tolerated, while casino-style gaming can be conducted only in Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. In Odisha, however, gambling is illegal, although it is considered a tradition during the celebrations for Kumar Purnima, according to Rakesh Kumar Tripathy, inspector-in-charge of Balichandrapur police station in Jajpur district.

He explained that policemen acted on a tip-off and on Tuesday night, they raided a gambling den in the village of Bharatpur. Although the money used for the gaming activity was not a lot, the deed is still considered a serious offense under the law.

Gambling as Part of the Religious Celebrations

The state of Odisha is located on the Bay of Bengal and is widely known for its rich religious history and tribal culture. It is home to a large number of ancient Hindu temples and has the highest concentration of Hindus among other states. There are plenty of holidays and festivals during the year and each is associated with different traditions and customs. Interestingly, gambling is extremely popular during the festive season in October and November.

Millions of Odisha residents take part in gambling activities from Dussehra to Diwali. There are no fixed dates for the two festivals, but Dussehra (also called Dasahara, Dasara, Dashain or Vijayadashami) is usually celebrated in late September or October. Diwali, on the other hand, or the festival of light is the largest and most important holiday of the year and it is usually in November. Along with good food, family gatherings, and other customs, people love to gamble in this part of the year.

Kumar Purnima is yet another Hindu holiday and it is known as the harvest festival. Every year, the local police try to clamp down on gambling with raids on illegal gambling dens and arrests of gamblers. While 500 people being arrested may sound like a massive operation, it is insignificant compared to the size of underground gambling that happens in reality. During the festive season, people gamble for entertainment and in the hopes to make a little extra money.

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