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Three snakes rescued in Pune
Pooja Agarwal | Thursday, 20 August 2015 AT 04:38 PM IST
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Pune: On the day of Nag Panchami, three snakes were rescued in Pune by social workers Parathamesh Ghavi, Sanjay Adware and Subhash Pardeshi.

“We found the snake-charmers roaming in Sadashiv Peth, Shaniwar Peth and Rasta Peth where we accosted them and rescued the snakes. The snakes were kept in horrible conditions. All the snakes are injured”says Ghavi, who works at the Katraj Snake Park.

The Bombay High court in 2014 had banned the capture and exhibition of snakes. Hence the practise carried on Nag Panchami is illegal.

Out of the snakes rescued only one was a baby cobra, the other two were trinkets. “One of the trinkets is severely injured. Its back-bone is completely broken and there is no hope that it will survive” said Pardeshi.

“The other trinket that we found was kept in horrible state. It was tied from all side in a plastic basket with coins, turmeric and vermillion powder (Haldi, Kunku) sprinkled on it. This is very dangerous as vermillion contains acid which is harmful to their eyes. The baby cobra that we found still had its fangs and even though it is a baby, its bite is still poisonous and hence it is quite risky to release it around people” added Adware.

These snakes captured by the charmers are subjected to torture and pain. They are kept without food or water for days before the festival so that they consume milk which otherwise is not their natural diet.
“We have come across several cases where the entire mouth of snakes was sewn. The day after the festival they are just thrown away, they are not able to survive and eventually die. The Government has done its job by banning this, now the people have to understand,” said Ghavi.

“Are we worshipping the snake on this day or are we killing them. More than 10,000 Rupees are made by charmers on this day just by showcasing snakes and tormenting them. They are just doing this for money not following religion” added Ghavi angrily.

Snakes are hoarded in godowns by several agents. On the day they can be brought from Rs 1000 onwards. However, Ghavi agrees that the practise has reduced greatly in the last few years. “When I started in 2006, we caught 63 snakes. Today we caught just 3. It is a good sign though more awareness needs to be created and this should stop completely.”

The rescued snakes were taken to the Katraj snake park for rehabilitation.

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