Cockfights are banned but still common in rural areas of India / © AFP/File
A rooster fitted with a knife for an illegal cockfight in southern India has killed its owner, sparking a manhunt for the organisers of the event, police said Saturday.
The bird had a knife attached to its leg ready to take on an opponent when it inflicted serious injuries to the man's groin as it tried to escape, officers said.
The victim died from loss of blood before he could reach a hospital in the Karimnagar district of Telangana state earlier this week, local police officer B. Jeevan told AFP.
The man was among 16 people organising the cockfight in the village of Lothunur when the freak accident took place, Jeevan said.
The rooster was briefly held at the local police station before it was sent to a poultry farm.
"We are searching for the other 15 people involved in organising the illegal fight," Jeevan said.
They could face charges of manslaughter, illegal betting and hosting a cockfight.
Cockfights are banned but still common in rural areas of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha states -- particularly around the Hindu festival of Sankranti.
Specially-bred roosters have 7.5-centimetre (three-inch) knives or blades tethered to their legs and punters bet on who will win the gruesome fight.
Thousands of roosters die each year in the battles which, despite the efforts of animal rights groups, attract large crowds.